Posted by Ernest Dove at 10:00 AM
Somewhere during the utter joy and euphoria of the past week of 8 straight wins, the Mets went ahead and lost a couple.......Combined with the rival Nats winning a couple.........Combined with some random Mets beat writers pointing out a few similarities regarding records of current and one particular recent season.......Equals a little minor chaos in Panic City. So, does any of this matter, of have an effect on the upcoming series with the Yanks?
As far as I'm concerned, EVERY series with the Yankees is important. It's important for numerous reasons, many having nothing to do with win loss records or place in the standings. Regardless of what is going in during a given season, two teams from the same state will always be fighting to try and beat each other partially to win the hearts of new fans, and give a form of victory to its long term and current fan base. However, this current series with the boys from the Bronx can be extremely significant for both teams.
Both teams are in a pennant race. And, in my opinion, the Yankees may go into this series thinking do or die like the Nats did/had done/should have done in their recent series with the Amazin's. I fully expect a playoff crowd, playoff noise, playoff panic, and a full on playoff atmosphere in this game. And even a blowout showing on an out of town scoreboard (Go Marlins?) should not have much impact on the way the Mets should play each game in this series.
I'm certainly not going to make any kind of effort to make this some kind of doom and gloom post. The Mets, as many of us have read all over Mets universe lately, need to pretty much play at or around .500 ball and they win the division. I don't feel like arguing this fact, and I don't have the heart or stomach to think the worst. But I still see a huge impact that this series can have on the entire season going forward.
One of the main reasons why the Mets need to win this series with the Yankees (IMO) is because the Mets need to prove that they can beat teams with winning records. I don't even believe the Mets will be playing such a team again this season, ( except MAYBE the Nats? :) ).
The Mets have been terrible against the winning teams in the NL Central. And the residents of Panic City can fully recite their own opinions and frustrations even regarding the though of the Mets having to play one of these teams in the playoffs. But the fact remains that the Mets still remain in line to face off with the Dodgers instead. But I believe the Mets have much to prove over the remaining 16 games regardless of their possibly being no change in this collision course.
The Mets have already lined up some heavy hitters out of the rotation for this series, including Matt Harvey. We can speculate about his innings limit in the game. However, a lot can happen during not only the Sunday game itself, but the Friday and Saturday games before it. The Mets will dictate in this series as a whole how long Harvey goes in that game.
Another reason I think this series is significant is solely for one Steven Mats. I believe this can be a huge start of Matz. Not only to determine his readiness to play on a big stage, but his status overall as a solid playoff starting pitcher to be considered going forward. We can argue all day about the ups and downs of Niese and Colon during the season, but they are still known commodities who have thrown more than few starts in their MLB careers. It will be very interesting to see how Matz fares in this showdown series. Thankfully he won't be pitching in that little league field across town, so he can use Citi Field to his advantage. And the September call ups give Terry Collins the option to utilize his best outfielders to patrol the field at Citi and possibly prevent big innings from occurring.
This series is not about the battle of New York, the back pages, and bragging rights. This series can also truly define the remainder of the season for both teams. The Yankees, quite honestly, can be a sweep away from being out of the playoffs, even with the power house Blue Jays losing Tulo from their video game lineup.
The Mets can be a sweep away from utter chaos all over social media no matter what the Nats do against the Marlins. The Mets can also be a sweeping win away from causing a little chaos of their own a few thousand miles away in Los Angeles. Either way I feel the key word here is WIN. During the Nats series, some of us even here on Macks Mets were just hoping the Mets could squeeze out just one win in order to maintain a decent size lead in the division. Then the Amazin Mets went ahead and won everything in the series. And look at what it did not only for the players, the manager and the fan base, but also the overall feel and vibe of the team and organization.
Even with the day off on Thursday, I was still a little personally upset to have seen Clippard take the mound in that last game against the Marlins with the Mets down multiple runs in the 8th. Significant of a series or not I'm looking for and expecting Both Clippard and Familia to have the chance to pitch in all three games of this subway series as needed. The Mets in my opinion need to show the entire baseball watching country that they will not fold, will not have more let downs, and will not take the foot off the pedal at all in this series. It's just too important.
I also believe the series is important for Lucas Duda. Mr. Smash remains in a slump. I have no problems with Duda hitting down in the order. He doesn't have to hit cleanup for the Mets to be competitive going forward. But he still has to produce. And now would be a good time to do so, because the big spotlight of this series, which includes the MLB making the Sunday game a prime time game, can say a lot about Duda going forward.
I also believe this series will be very important for Juan Lagares and even EY Jr. I believe these two players, and the above average tool they each have, will be needed in this series. I admit I do think it a little strange that the Mets so often go ahead and replace Conforto seemingly as a defensive replacement to insert Lagares, even though Conforto has been excellent in the field this year. However, some of these decisions also appear to simply be a lineup numbers game due to the NL obviously forcing pitchers to hit. And so, if Conforto is one of the last batters to record an out in the prior inning, and/or the Mets insert EY Jr. into the game as a pinch runner, the Mets need to flexibility to take out Conforto instead of Grandy or Cespedes, and for the win. Either way, Lagares and EY remain an impact in this series.
Perhaps the series will also be very important even for the Captain and for Cespedes. David Wright will be coming off a good series with the Marlins, and will of course be coming off a nice scheduled day off, so he should be good to go for the entire Subway series. Cespedes technically had a version of a quite end to the Marlins series, and a national spotlight might be significant to him in many ways that go beyond the games and score itself for obvious financial reasons. I expect both to be ready.
As we often find out, the game is often about more than just wins and losses. Both teams want to make a statement to their respective divisions, leagues and fan bases. Both teams want to stay relevant in the incredibly huge New York market. And perhaps both teams would like to show that they are ready for a certain repeat of a certain post season series battle. (minus the previous outcome of course).
What say you Mack's Mets? is this series HUGE? Do the Mets Have to win the series? Do they have to sweep the series? If Nats lay an egg against the Marlins would we still be crushed if they win none or one?