The second half of the baseball season begins in just a few hours.
I had some MLB stories in the paper earlier this week. Here are the links.
Column: Mets face long road to playoffs
Five questions for the second half: Mets
Column: Time for the Yankees to sell
Five questions for the second half: Yankees
With the trade deadline looming – it’ll be 4 p.m. on August 1 this year as July 31 is a Sunday – let’s take a look at the upcoming schedules for both local teams.
- 3 games at home vs. Red Sox
- 4 games at home vs. Orioles
- 3 games at home vs. Giants
- 3 games on road at Astros
- Day off
- 3 games on road at Tampa Bay
If the Yankees have any hope of being a playoff team this year, they’re going to have to gain some ground on Baltimore, Boston and Toronto, currently 1-2-3, respectively, in the AL East. So these first seven games at home will be key. Say the Yankees go 5-2 over that span and they’d be 49-44 heading into a series with San Francisco, which has the best record in baseball.
Houston has come back to life after a sluggish start, so that won’t be an easy series either. So even with a good record here against division opponents, 3-3 against the Astros and Giants seems realistic. That puts the Yankees are 52-47 a few days before the deadline. Sitting five games over might leave the Yankees feeling better about their second half chances and could dampen the club’s likelihood of selling any players at the deadline.
But that’s the best-case scenario. So it will be interesting to watch. The Yankees won’t have any lack of suitors for Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, so they can wait until August 1 to make any trades. This stretch of games, including those final three in Tampa Bay, could determine the course of the franchise moving forward.
- 3 games on road at Phillies
- 3 games on road at Cubs
- Day off
- 3 games on road at Marlins
- 3 games at home vs. Cardinals
- 4 games at home vs. Rockies
The Mets are tied for second in the NL East with the Marlins at 47-41, six games behind Washington.
The good news for the team is that the second-half schedule opens in Philly. The Mets have always played well in Citizens Bank Ballpark, so at least two wins in that series are a must. Then it’s three games in Chicago against a Cubs team looking to get back on track, but the Mets have won eight straight against the Cubbies dating back to the 2015 NLCS. After a day off, it’s three big games against the Marlins as the Mets look to create a bit of separation in the NL East.
As far as the trade market, the Mets don’t have any obvious holes at the moment outside of the bullpen. A significant injury to Steven Matz or Noah Syndergaard over the next few weeks, however, might have the Mets looking at a thin starting pitching market.
Really, these next few weeks are all about keeping pace with Washington.