Subway Series matchups: Stakes high for Yankees, Mets

The Post’s Greg Joyce breaks down how the Yankees and Mets match up, with plenty at stake:

In case the Subway Series weren’t meaningful enough on its own, the latest iteration of Yankees versus Mets should pack plenty of drama, with both teams facing important stages of their seasons.

For the Yankees, it’s the latest chance to find any springboard that might get them out of their rut — they’re currently stuck in fourth place in the AL East — in a season that has featured some brutal low points to go with a few highs.

The Mets, meanwhile, arrive back in New York still in first place in the NL East. But it’s not all rosy: Their offense is in the midst of a prolonged slump, while their starting rotation took another hit Wednesday with an injury to David Peterson.

The Post’s Greg Joyce breaks down how the Yankees and Mets match up, with plenty at stake:

At the plate

Getting on base: Both offenses entered the season with high expectations and have largely struggled to meet them, at least through the first half. The Yankees and Mets both are ranked in the bottom 10 of MLB in runs per game, with neither team batting above the league average of .239 (the Yankees are at .236 and the Mets were at .227 as of Thursday). Aaron Judge has been the Yankees’ best hitter all year, and Gary Sanchez and DJ LeMahieu recently have gotten hot, but the team has received sparse contributions from left field and center field. The Mets have gotten healthier recently with the returns of Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil, but could still use a more consistent Francisco Lindor to boost the lineup.

Edge: Yankees

Aaron Judge and Francisco Lindor
Bill Kostroun; AP

Power

Though the Yankees haven’t quite been the Bronx Bombers, they still entered Friday in the top 10 with 106 home runs. Judge leads the way with 18 and Sanchez’s resurgence has delivered a shot in the arm, with eight of his 14 home runs coming in his last 19 games. Giancarlo Stanton remains a threat to hit any ball a long way, but the Yankees have seen a startling lack of power from Gleyber Torres. The Mets have experienced a power outage across the board. They entered Thursday with 74 home runs — the third fewest in MLB. Pete Alonso (13 home runs) is the only Met in double digits.

Edge: Yankees

On the basepaths

The Yankees have myriad issues, but one of their worst has been their baserunning. They have run into 33 outs on the bases, which leads all of MLB. They are hardly a threat to steal bases, either, with their 17 swipes ranking dead last. The Mets entered the season with the goal of being more aggressive on the bases and have accomplished that without being reckless — their 13 outs on the bases were good for the second-best mark in the league. Still, they aren’t exactly burners either, with only 24 steals.

Edge: Mets

In the field

Infield: Will the best defensive infielder this weekend be the Yankees’ third baseman or the Mets’ shortstop? Gio Urshela’s slick hands — which have started a pair of triple plays — have registered four defensive runs saved, per FanGraphs. Lindor had five defensive runs saved and has instantly upgraded his club’s defense. While Torres’ defense at shortstop rates below average, Alonso has made big strides with his glove at first base.

Edge: Mets

Outfield: Judge has played a strong right field, though the Yankees have shifted him to center at times since Aaron Hicks’ season-ending injury. Miguel Andujar is still adjusting to his new position in left field, while Clint Frazier has also been shaky there. The Mets have gotten solid defense from Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora Jr. in center, while Dominic Smith has been serviceable in left.

Edge: Mets

Bench

The Mets’ self-proclaimed “Bench Mob” helped keep them afloat through a pile of injuries earlier in the season. But they have cooled off of late, especially with Jonathan Villar and Tomas Nido on the IL. The Yankees haven’t gotten much production from their bench, with Rougned Odor delivering occasional pop and Tyler Wade the only threat of speed.

Edge: Even

On the mound

Rotation: The Yankees will not face Jacob deGrom, in the midst of his dominant season, though their own ace, Gerrit Cole, will be on the mound in Saturday’s game, against Marcus Stroman. Cole is coming off his worst start of the season, against the Red Sox, while Stroman is expected back off the bereavement list. Friday’s matchup features Taijuan Walker versus Jordan Montgomery. Walker looks like a steal in free agency and Montgomery usually gives the Yankees a chance. Sunday’s matchup is the wild card, with the Mets going to rookie Tylor Megill and the Yankees starter undetermined as of Thursday evening.

Edge: Mets

Bullpen: Aroldis Chapman has endured a Jekyll and Hyde season — no earned runs allowed in his first 18 innings, then 12 in his past 10 ²/₃ innings, including three blown saves. Edwin Diaz, meanwhile, has 17 saves to just one blown save, though he has been less effective in non-save situations. Even without the injured Zack Britton, the Yankees feature a bit more depth.

Edge: Yankees

Manager

Aaron Boone has received votes of confidence this week, from both GM Brian Cashman and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, but he enters the series under siege. Luis Rojas, who has quietly helped steer the Mets to a long run atop the division, will be getting his first taste of the Subway Series with fans. Both managers preach staying even-keeled, even under the bright spotlight.

Edge: Even

Intangibles

Neither team is riding too high heading into the Subway Series. The Yankees are coming off a demoralizing loss to the Angels that could potentially sink their season if the Mets kick them while they’re down. The Yankees figure to be playing with a bit more desperation, and if the hostile crowd in The Bronx doesn’t turn against them, they could use it to their advantage.

Edge: Yankees

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Greg Joyce

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