It finally happened! We finally were blessed by a day in Mets Land where nothing went wrong. Jacob deGrom pitched brilliantly and is once again a major contender for the Cy Young Award. Plus, the Mets scored plenty of runs in support, pounding out 14 runs, half of which came in their last turn at bat for some reason. Pete Alonso belted two home runs, Dominic Smith had four hits with three RBI, and Michael Conforto had three hits himself to raise his batting average to .342, good for fourth in the majors.
When the smoke cleared, the Mets had earned themselves a 14-1 win over Philadelphia and moved within one game of the final National League wild card spot. New York’s postseason chances, according to ESPN, stand at 52 percent.
That’s nothing compared to the Yankees’ 92-percent odds, but the Bronx Bombers and their fans aren’t in very high spirits right now. On Sunday afternoon, they lost to Baltimore for the third game in a row and fell behind Toronto into third place of the American League East. Not a great look for the team considered the major favorite for the AL pennant back in July.
A 60-game season is tough to predict, though. That’s good for up-and-coming teams like Miami and the Blue Jays, but for squads that are already winners on paper, the short campaign only has downside. The 5-13 skid that the Yankees have been on since mid-August would be easy to make up for in a normal season, but with only 20 games left, Aaron Boone’s team could see itself outside the playoff picture if it doesn’t pull out of this soon.
Yankees fans are frustrated by their team’s constant injuries, and rightfully so. Who doesn’t want to see superstars like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton earning their paychecks on the field? However, this is also a team that overcame similar woes to win over 100 games last season and has many other talented players who need to step up. Miguel Andujar showed some life with three hits yesterday, and he’s going to be an important factor with Gio Urshela out due to injury. Gleyber Torres is himself fresh off the injured list and ready to boost a lineup that has produced just 11 runs in four games this weekend.
As hilarious as it would be for the Yankees to miss the postseason with their stacked roster, I think they’ll right the ship and finish second in the AL East. Once we hit the playoffs, it’s a whole new season.
Speaking of playoffs, the NBA bubble action continued last night and the Milwaukee Bucks emerged as surprise survivors, defeating Miami 118-115 in overtime to cut their 3-0 series deficit to 3-1. Many unbiased observers thought that the Bucks were finished when Giannis Antetokounmpo hurt his ankle in the second quarter and did not return. However, Khris Middleton picked up the slack and scored 36 points and eight assists to keep his team alive.
Antetokounmpo’s status is unclear for Game 5. If he can’t play, it’s hard to imagine Milwaukee forcing a Game 6, but Middleton made it clear on Sunday that you can’t write this team off even with its superstar on the sideline.
In the Western Conference, the Lakers trailed the Rockets after three quarters, but LeBron James and company dominated the final period to win 117-109 and even their second round series at 1-1. Houston is a team that lives and dies by the three-pointer, and that was evident in the second half. The Rockets scored 41 points in the third quarter, and for a moment it looked like the ball would never cease flowing through the hoop.
Then the fourth quarter happened, and the Lakers clamped down, holding Houston to just 17 points. On the other end of the court, Los Angeles dominated Houston’s small-ball lineup. Anthony Davis went 15-for-24 from the field to pace everyone with 34 points, while LeBron James scored 28 and missed a triple-double by one assist. James asserted his dominance inside the paint, going 9-for-12 on two-point shots.
It seems like the Lakers are back in control of this series, and no one would be surprised if they went on to win in five games. From what I’ve seen and heard, though, I think this Rockets team is tougher and more resilient than prior iterations. I’ll take the Lakers to win in six.
Happy Labor Day! The Mets finish their series with Philadelphia this afternoon at Citi Field while the Yankees battle for second place with the Blue Jays in Buffalo starting at 6:37 p.m. We also have a crucial Game 5 between Boston and Toronto in the NBA bubble as well as Game 3 between the Clippers and Denver. In the NHL, the Islanders look to continue their magical (or horrifying, depending on your point of view) run towards the Stanley Cup when they begin the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
By the way, the West Final got underway last night with Dallas’s John Klingberg scoring three minutes into the game and the Stars riding a heroic goaltending performance by Anton Khudobin to a 1-0 victory over Las Vegas.