Rodriguez Returns, Yankees Start Season with .500 Record

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison, Wikipedia

The 2015 MLB season is officially underway as the first two weeks of games have just wrapped up. Two local teams, the New York Yankees and New York Mets, play the first Subway Series of the year this weekend. 

While the Yankees have performed decently thus far with a 8-7 record, to the surprise of many, the Mets currently hold the best record in the MLB at 12-3.

The Mets starting pitching has been exceptional thus far, led by staff ace and fan favorite Matt Harvey. Harvey headed into this season coming off Tommy John surgery, a common surgery for pitchers, which caused him to miss all of last year.

Though he was dominant in 2013 and appeared confident in spring training, Harvey has proven that he is the same pitcher he was two years ago, which is a huge sigh of relief for Mets fans.

The rest of the starters have been great as well, led by reigning National League Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom and the ageless Bartolo Colon who continues to play well at age 42.

Though their offense has suffered injuries to captain David Wright and catcher Travis d’Arnaud, the rest of the lineup has stepped up in their absence.  First baseman Lucas Duda and left-fielder Michael Cuddyer have played particularly well.

For Mets fans, there seems to be a genuine excitement around the team that has not been seen the last few seasons. Harvey’s home debut drew a crowd of nearly 40,000 to Citi Field, the largest crowd in the stadium’s brief history, and their current 10-game winning streak has people paying attention. 

“The pitching has got the fans excited and the fact that the team is coming up with timely hits. The team is confident and they believe in themselves, which has been fun to watch,” said Ramapo senior and Mets fan Justin Gianelli. “I haven’t felt this good about the team since 2007.”

The Yankees, meanwhile, have been the less-talked-about New York team for the first time since the early ‘90s. 

The “retirement tours” of Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter the last two seasons continued to keep attendance at Yankee Stadium high, despite winning only 85 and 84 games in 2013 and 2014 respectively. With those two legends gone, it was expected that the Bronx Bombers would experience a slight attendance dip this season, especially if they continued their barely above .500 level of play.

The team has had pleasant surprises and bitter disappointments in the lineup and on the field so far. On the positive side is Alex Rodriguez, a sentiment that just two months ago seemed ludicrous. 

The guy that everybody loves to hate has gotten off to a better start than anyone, including Rodriguez himself, could have predicted. Though it is early, he is currently in the top 10 in the American League in RBI, HR and SLG percent and is second in walks.

Other positives have been the performance of closer Andrew Miller and the healthy return of ace Masahiro Tanaka. 

On the negative side is Didi Gregorius, who inherited the thankless task of replacing Jeter at shortstop. Even compared to an average shortstop, though, Gregorius has been absolutely dreadful. A problem that has plagued them over the last two seasons and has continued this year is the Yankees’ struggle to gets hits with runners in scoring positions.