Since returning to the Yankees lineup from a hip sprain on May 9, AL MVP Aaron Judge has been the spark for a struggling team. Slugging four home runs and hitting .320 with a 1.295 OPS, Judge has looked like his reigning American League MVP self over his previous seven games going into last night’s game versus the Toronto Blue Jays on the road.
During that span, the Yankees split four games against the Tampa Bay Rays and had gone 5-2 since the return of Judge as of Tuesday, including a 7-4 win over the Blue Jays on Monday night in Toronto to raise their record to 24-19. The Yankees fell to .500 (15-15) on May 1 by losing to the Cleveland Guardians 3-2, their fourth loss in a row.
The turnaround began with outfielder Harrison Bader making his season debut on May 2 after missing due to injuring his oblique during spring training. Bader has provided much-needed offensive help, going 14- 42, hitting three home runs, and driving in 11 RBIs while batting .333 before being in the third spot and playing center field in the second game of the Yankees’ four-game series against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Other Yankees have also caught fire at the plate, such as first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who was hitting .379 with 11 RBIs and three home runs in his previous seven games heading into Tuesday. Rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe had increased his average to .267 and had three homers and eight RBIs.
Going 6-2 from May 8 through May 15 and gaining 2.5 games in the AL East- leading Rays signals that the Yankees are gaining their footing. The Yankees will play a three-game series this weekend on the road against the Cincinnati Reds.
Meanwhile, the Mets have not been consistently productive at the plate or in their pitching rotation. They went 2-2 in Washington versus the Nationals in a four-game series that began last Friday and concluded on Monday. The Mets were 16th in Major League Baseball in batting at .241 when they hosted the Rays at Citi Field on Tuesday and were 18th in OPS (on base plus slugging) at .705. Their pitching was equally lagging as their ERA of 4.69 ranked 24th out of MLB’s 30 teams.
Top of the rotation starters Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander—future Hall of Famers—are still trying to gain their form as appointed aces while Kodai Senga, in his first season in the MLB after coming over from Japan, was scheduled to start last night, taking a 4-2 record and 4.14 ERA into the game.
The Mets were 4-9 over their last 13 games before Tuesday’s game and already had been shut out seven times this season. They were shut out eight times all of last season. There should be some changes coming soon, specifically with how well infield prospects Mark Vientos and Ronnie Mauricio have been performing for the Mets Triple-A affiliate Syracuse.
Mauricio was hitting .420 with eight RBIs and a 1.144 OPS and Vientos was hitting .261 with four homers, 12 RBIs, and a .917 OPS at the start of this week. While Mauricio and Vientos wait their turn, the Mets will host the Guardians in Queens for three games tomorrow through Sunday, then head to Chicago for three against the Cubs Tuesday through Thursday.