By Lenn Robbins
Mets fans must be salivating. Salivating.
Since the day the franchise opened for business in 1962, the Mets have been second-class baseball citizen’s in this town. Heck, every baseball team in the world plays second to the Yankees. There’s no shame in that but it’s like hearing every day, “Why can’t you be more like your brother?”
What it provides Mets fans is the rare opportunity to kick the Yankees when they’re down and, man, how the Bombers have stumbled of late. The Yankees have lost five straight after being swept by the Braves Wednesday in a doubleheader in Atlanta. And Aaron Judge (calf) seems headed back to the Injured List where he’ll join Gleyber Torres, D.J. LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Kyle Higashioka, James Paxton, Zack Britton and Luis Avilan.
Catching the Rays, who have gone 8-2 during the same stretch to build a two and one-half game lead in the AL East, is getting a little more daunting every day. And the Toronto Blue Jays, who acquired a serviceable arm Thursday in Taijuan Walker are only two back of the Yankees in second place.
The Mets head into this weekend’s four-game series with a chance to do the unthinkable – push the Yankees to the brink of not making the playoffs. And remember, this was the latest in the World-Series-or-Bust season for the Yankees.
“Losing sucks,’’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after Wednesday’s sweep. “We don’t like it. We’ve got to play a little better.”
The same can be said of the Mets. They too have played .500 ball in their last 10 games. And although the Mets had aspirations for post-season play, “World Series,” was an expectation but a hope.
Consider this: Should the Mets sweep the Yankees (it happened in 2013) the Mets would be 17-16 and the Yankees would be 16-15, a virtual lock.
The Yankees, of course, were not going to continue to win 9-of-11 as they did to start the season. But since that torrid start the Yankees are 7-7. Gerrit Cole saw his streak of 20 straight regular season starts without a loss end i5-1 loss to the Braves. The Yankees dropped the second game 2-1.
Do the math: The Yankees scored two runs in 14 innings. The Blue Jays are getting larger in the rearview mirror and Mets are right in front, like sand-filled barrels. Mets fans are salivating.