Warming Up With The Weather


Didi Gregorius has had a historic start to his 2018 season for the Yankees. (Courtesy of Twitter)

By Evan Biancardi

Didi Gregorius has had a historic start to his 2018 season for the Yankees. (Courtesy of Twitter)

As the weather finally starts to heat up after a chilling April, let’s check in on New York baseball. As of Sunday, the Mets stand atop the surprisingly competitive National League East. As for the Yankees, they still trail the Red Sox in the division, but their recent hot stretch has them well within reach of the American League East. Although the Mets have the second-best record in the National League behind only the Diamondbacks, their cross-town rivals actually have the better record, so it’s only fair to start with the Bronx Bombers.

After hovering around .500 for the season’s first few weeks, the Yankees have won nine of their last 10 games, including eight games in a row. Since their last loss on April 20 against the Blue Jays, they’ve powered their way to just under eight runs per game, including a 14-1 victory over the Twins and an 11-1 rout of the Angels. What was the cause of this offensive production? While Stanton and Sanchez have heated up, the key hitters over the course of this streak have been Miguel Andujar and Didi Gregorius.

Andujar went through struggles of his own to start his campaign, but his recent tear has boosted his OPS to .935, thanks to 16 of his 24 hits going for extra bases. His hard contact rate and aggressive approach at the plate will make Aaron Boone’s decision quite difficult when Brandon Drury is ready to return to action.

Gregorius, on the other hand, has been perhaps the best hitter in baseball to open the season. Leading the league in home runs, runs batted in, slugging and OPS, Sir Didi has paid dividends for the Yankees since being moved ahead of Stanton in the lineup. More impressively, though, was his Los Angeles curtain call after swatting his fifth home run in six games.

Injuries have certainly plagued this team, but between their high-powered offense and their top-10 pitching staff, there’s no question that this team has infinite potential if and when everyone is on the field.

The same can be said for the Mets, who have lost six of 10 games since winning their first five series of the 2018 season. To make matters worse, over this stretch, the team decided to move Matt Harvey to the bullpen in order to open up a spot for the newly-acquired Jason Vargas, but his abysmal Mets’ debut leaves the back end of the rotation up in the air. The team’s greatest loss, though, has been the injuries of their two catchers, Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud. Other than them and relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak, though, the Mets have largely evaded the injury bug.

The struggles of Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce are certainly puzzling and a major reason why the team has scuffled as of late, but luckily, Asdrubal Cabrera has filled the void. With Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom pitching as good as it has been advertised, combined with a bullpen that has exceeded expectations, it’s only a matter of time before this team clicks and gets on another hot streak.

While the Yankees may be built better for October baseball, the Mets will most definitely be in the thick of things this fall. A midseason acquisition might be necessary for both squads, but both teams have much-needed depth at almost every position. It could very well be another exciting season for New York baseball.