It's August, and the Mets and Yankees are both in first.
According to ESPN, the last time you could say that was August 2006.
But, hey, we're from New York. First isn't good enough if we have to share it. We can't help but ask:
Who runs New York - the Mets or the Yanks?
The case for the Yankees
The record says it all, right? 59-45, a 6-game division lead.
The playoffs look like a sure bet, even with the Blue Jays heating up thanks to some pretty serious moves at the deadline. Their hitting could be the best in the league - their average of 4.92 runs/game is second only to those pesky Jays. A-Rod is hitting. Teixeira is hitting. Hell, Didi Gregorius is hitting. The Yanks routinely put up 6, 7, 8, 9 runs in a game, and that's enough for any team.
Betances and Miller makes up one of the best late-game one-twos in the majors - Miller hasn't blown a save all season and Betances has struck out 87 hitters in 54.2 innings.
The case for the Mets
It's finally here. The Mets finally made the right moves at the deadline. Cespedes changes everything, giving protection to Duda in the lineup. Not to mention the legitimate power of Uribe and Granderson. At long last, the hitting has arrived. David Wright is on his way back, d'Arnaud is healthy, Cespedes is here - it's all happening. The Mets are peaking at the right time.
Oh yeah, and the pitching. Third best in team ERA. Top five in strikeouts, walks allowed, and batting average against. But beyond all that, just look at them. Harvey looks like he's found his stuff. deGrom never lost it. Syndergaard gets better each and every day. Niese is getting it done. Matz could be back soon. Clippard and Mejia are as good as Betances and Miller, if not better.
After tying the Nats for the division lead, the Mets are looking better each day.
The case against the Yankees
Sure, the hitting is nice. But the rotation is... spotty, at best. Cashman made a real mistake not going for a quality starter at the deadline - relying on Nate Eovaldi is not a recipe for success. Tanaka can't stay healthy (and may not be that good when he is healthy), Pineda just went down, and CC is everything we feared he might be - done.
The Yanks have allowed the 5th most runs in the league and have pitched to a team ERA over 4.00 - that's not getting it done.
It's very nice to have a good offense, but that sort of pitching is going to get torn to shreds by the best teams in the league come playoff time.
The case against the Mets
Firstly, can they even get into the playoffs? We know the Nationals have been playing below potential all season - what if they turn it on? The Wild Card is a mess, with the Cubs, Giants and Mets all vying for the 'privilege' of playing the Pirates in a play-in game.
How safe is it, really, to rely on three young arms - Harvey (just off Tommy John), deGrom and Syndergaard (neither with real prime-time experience) to pitch like they have been for the rest of the year and into October? The pressure could get to these kids, and if it does, the Mets are toast.
The hitting may have gotten better over the past week, but it's still not great. They need to hit more than they have been. I'm not counting on Wright's return, and nor should you. The fact is, this team is below .500 since their 15-5 start, and that's a problem. Trending up? Maybe? Good enough? I don't think so.
Take your pick
So, who's your choice? Who do you take to go deeper in the playoffs?
I'm biased, but for me it's the Mets. I trust pitching more than hitting, especially when it comes to winning a 7-game series. Facing deGrom, Harvey and Syndergaard twice each is a really tough task. That said, I see the case for the Yankees, too - there's no reason they can't keep hitting like they have been. It's not like they've been hot for a week - it's been all season, really.
This one could go either way. It's going to be a fun August and September for New York baseball fans!