New York baseball is must-watch television


Keith Allison

Keith Allison | Wikimedia Commons

Muhamet Hadzibrahimi

It’s safe to say New York City has two superb baseball teams. The New York Yankees and New York Mets have stood atop of their respective divisions for a majority of the 2022 season. But is there an opportunity for a repeat of the 2000 World Series?

The New York Yankees have lived up to their nickname as the Bronx Bombers. Currently, they lead the entire league in home runs on the back of American League MVP candidate Aaron Judge.

Judge is chasing the coveted Yankee home run record held by two-time MVP Roger Maris, who hit 61 home runs in 1961.

Along with Aaron Judge’s heroics, six Yankees — including Judge, Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Trevino, Clay Holmes and Nestor Cortes — made the 2022 All-Star team.

The supporting cast around Judge has had its fair share of inconsistencies, whether due to injuries or dips in production. In the first half of the season, the Yankees were winning at a historical pace, posting a 64-28 record.

But the second half for the Yankees has been lackluster. Since the all-star break, the Yankees are 23-30, with Stanton, Luis Severino and Anthony Rizzo all spending time on the injured list.

The Yankees’ championship aspirations depend on the health of their core hitters and pitching down the stretch leading to the postseason. The Yankees still have a question mark when it comes to closing games, with All-Star Clay Holmes and seven-time All-Star Aroldis Chapman struggling to gain manager Aaron Boone’s confidence.

Ace pitcher Gerrit Cole will be relied on to throw scoreless innings in the playoffs after failing to do so in the 2021 American League Wild Card game. If the Yankees can fix these issues, the elusive 28th championship will become a reality.

The Yankees are a determined ball club, but their crosstown rivals have also built a team worth talking about. The New York Mets are building a championship culture with the help of former Yankees manager Buck Showalter.

The Mets are second behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in on-base percentage and fifth in the league in batting average, characteristic of the team’s approach at the plate.

The Mets players have passed the baton all year by making consistent bat-to-ball contact and working lengthy at-bats. The opposition’s starting pitchers are throwing exhausting numbers of pitches in the first inning, in large part due to the Mets’ excellent plate discipline.

The contributors to this successful season start with the Mets’ most improved player, Francisco Lindor. Last year, Lindor struggled mightily in his first year with the team, posting a .230 batting average and only driving in 63 runs over 125 games.

This season, Lindor is showing tremendous signs of the All-Star player he once was with the Cleveland Indians. He has surpassed nearly every category in offensive production compared to last year, topped off by his stellar defense at the shortstop position.

The Mets have also received help from All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso, elite closer Edwin Diaz and three-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer.

With the Atlanta Braves lurking in second place, the Mets are being pressured in their quest for their first World Series championship since 1986.