By Dan Schlossberg
Fans of the two New York teams may feel deprived if they’re holding tickets to next week’s Subway Series.
Sluggers Aaron Judge, the Yankees outfielder, and Pete Alonso, who plays first base for the Mets, are not likely to participate because of injuries suffered this week.
Judge, making his second visit to the Injured List this year, smashed his big toe into a concrete base of a Dodger Stadium wall last week, while Alonso was hit in the wrist by a first-inning pitch from Atlanta’s Charlie Morton Wednesday night.
The 6’7” Judge is the defending American League MVP after hitting a league-record 62 homers last year, while Alonso is doing his best to keep up a similar pace.
The games are scheduled for June 13-14 at CitiField, the Flushing home of the Mets.
Pre-season prognosticators had suggested a possible World Series meeting of the two teams before injuries intervened.
The Mets, for example, spent gave pitching aces Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander matching $43.4 million contracts, making them the highest-paid players in the game, but both have been on and off the active roster.
At the same time, erstwhile All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor has been a shadow of his former self, flirting with the Mendoza Line all season. And he’s not the only culprit on an anemic offense.
If the season ended today, the Mets wouldn’t even make the playoffs — despite a bloated $377 million payroll that leads the majors by a substantial margin.
The Yankees have had their share of injuries too, with only Gerrit Cole holding up his end in the starting rotation. Josh Donaldson can still hit at age 37 but he’s more often idled with injuries than ready to play.
Highly-touted rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe has been a disappointment too.
Injuries are unpredictable, of course, and timing is everything in baseball — both on and off the field.
The Mets are fortunate that rookies Francisco Alvarez, now their No. 1 catcher, and Brett Baty, their new third baseman, have done so well since Buck Showalter made them regulars. But New York misses lights-out closer Edwin Diaz, by far the best relief man in the majors last year.
If the current run of mediocrity continues, look for both New York clubs to be active traders in advance of the Aug. 1 deadline. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ is the author of 40 baseball books. He is a national baseball writer for forbes.com and covers the game for many other outlets. E.mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.