Dyer: Mets, Yankees Set To Make April Fools Of Us

By Kristian Dyer
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Three games into the new season and New York City is spring baseball personified, a town of April’s fools.

On one side is the perennial title contender from the Bronx, who are wringing their hands as an 0-3 start was the furthest thing imaginable from a team that is the most expensive in baseball. Point to the fact that 159 games remain with plenty of time to right the ship and Yankees fans are going to hyperbolic lengths. The playoffs is the furthest thing from their minds, such is the angst over their sluggish start. The “Bombers” aren’t supposed to lose three straight ever, especially not at the season’s start where their veterans should be fresh and ready.

The other side of the town is where a franchise that has known more heartache and failure than wins always seems in the shadows. After an opening series sweep of the Braves, the Mets now sit 3-0 and atop the NL East. Ask a Mets fan this time last week his expectations for the season and the answer was a resounding “Just play hard.” Three games in and modesty is forgotten; already the fans of the “Amazins” have dreams of winning the division.

Such is baseball in April, where fans read into every game and each series as a harbinger of postseason dreams, of October baseball. The limited sample size, just a handful of games, makes this a necessary knee-jerk reaction, but it is far from an exact science. The fact remains that the Yankees still have legitimate aspirations of making the playoffs and the Mets, well, quite frankly don’t.

Despite the fact that one team is riding a boon and another going through a swoon, the 162 game regular season is unforgiving for any team. Flaws are exposed as the days get longer and the temperature soars; contenders become pretenders and then non-issues as July turns to August and eventually September. More than any other sport, in baseball it is the team that is built for the long run that survives to play in the postseason.

And that team in New York is more the Yankees than the Mets.

The numbers don’t lie on the rich and powerful team in white and blue pinstripes. The Yankees are built for the here and now and while they have problems, they have fewer issues than the rest of the division and certainly their counterparts in Queens. The lineup is stronger, the pitching staff built for the stretch run and the Yankees have shown a willingness to use their farm system to make adjustments before the trade deadline.

The Mets, given their Madoff addled salary structure and their youth movement can’t afford that kind of fiscal flexibility. Everything must be perfect this year for the Mets and unlike the Yankees, they don’t have the talent or experience to ride a dip in form.

At some point, the Yankees will begin becoming who they are: A power hitting club who can count on the top of their rotation to get them wins. This is a team whose last losing season was in 1992 and has missed the playoffs just once since 1995. There’s no reason to believe that with a roster of familiar names and proven faces that the Yankees can’t be in the thick of things come mid-summer, if not sooner.

At Citi Field, it might be tougher to maintain this unpredictably hot start given a young team with precious few known commodities. The upstart Mets, despite the promise of early April, are almost surely destined for a downturn at some point. They can’t maintain a level that keeps them atop the deepest division in baseball with what is still an inferior product.

But that won’t stop one team’s fans from worrying, another group from dreaming for at least a few more days.

It is the beauty of baseball as the trees blossom, the false hope that comes with each win, the dread that comes with each loss. It makes a fool out of all of us each April.

Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and contributes to Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter.

  • Steven Rein

    Article obviously written by a Yankee fan.

    • Tom

      How can you tell that? Whoever wrote this is just saying what’s true. You can’t tell me the Mets are gonna go anywhere just by starting 3-0 or than the Yankees are done being 0-3. Over a 162 game season, the Mets’ flaws will be exposed while the Yankees should contend for their division and possibly the World Series tite.

  • Seth G

    Can some please explain to me how the Yankees rotation is set up for the stretch run? After Sabathia you’re left with health, age, or effectiveness question marks with every other SP on the roster. The lineup can mash and score enough runs to get to the postseason, but that’s not really a reflection on the pitching.

    • Tom

      When Pineda comes back, he’ll be a boost. Nova showed last year he’s the real thing, not an Ace, but a good enough number 2 or 3 starter. Seriously, why are people jumping to conclusions after 3 games. Let’s see how their rotation is doing by the end of April.

      • Seth G

        If Pineda is healthy he can help, still a question mark there if he is healthy. Nova had a nice season but would probably be a #4 on the sox or rays. And where do you honestly put Pettitte? I mean I’m not arguing the Yanks will more than likely end in the postseason and the Mets will not. If they don’t get the division, they have to win a one game playoff then a five game series, with CC only going in two of those combined six games. Where are you counting on the other two wins coming from? If they get to a seven game series, you’re relying on CC for three starts and then what? Between the Angels, Rays, Boston, and Detroit it’s a little arrogant and disingenuous to think the Yanks’ pitching is going to carry them into October. This has nothing to do with the three games played so far this year, it’s just that writers take comfort in history and the yankees history tells us they will be fine or make a move to be fine. I just think it’s a little unfair they have a permanent pass from the media when they clearly have some issues and more so then other teams, not less as stated in the article.

        • Tom

          Again, let’s see how their rotation is doing come the end of the month. Who knows, Kuroda and Nova might be doing pretty well by then. Not saying it’ll happen, but just reminding you it’s too early to tell how their rotation will be. If Pineda does well when he comes off the DL, there is the potential for a good but not great rotation of CC, Kuroda, Nova, Pineda, Pettite.Garcia/someone else. If you’re worried about the Yankee rotation, you may as well be worried about Boston’s after the way Detroit’s lineup handled their starters last weekend.

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