Ways to describe two games in the Bronx with this Subway Series, well only one and that is compelling. One story line after another that continued Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium included another sour point for Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, the first start at Yankee Stadium for Sonny Gray, and Jacob deGrom getting a loss that took him 7.1 inning and 100 pitches.
And there was the Mets future on display. Dominic Smith got hold of a pitch from Gray that went the other way, his first career home run at Yankee Stadium that went beyond a leaping Aaron Hicks in the seventh inning that cut the Yankees lead to 4-2.
There was the Amed Rosario home run. At Yankee Stadium, and off Chapman who may have pulled the hamstring again and the Yankees closer appeared to lose his composure on the mound. Manager Joe Girardi said Chapman would not be in another role and remains the Yankees closer.
And the Yankees were better again. Aaron Judge appears to be snapping out of a funk, though swinging on a foul tip off a deGrom fastball was another one for the books, the 32nd consecutive game that Judge has fanned that tied an Adam Dunn single season Major League record that was established in 2012.
The Yankees saw the scoreboard. Boston won their game and the division lead over the Yankees remains at 4-½ games.
The home run ball helped Sonny Gray and the New York Yankees. That always seems to be the case in this Subway Series in the Bronx. The Yankees use the home run ball to their advantage and have won five of their last seven games over the Mets in the Bronx. Now the scene shifts crosstown and for pride and bragging rights the Mets and their fans want a split of the four games.
Now the Yankees are a better team, younger and more athletic as was the plan. Even with a struggling Aaron Judge, who is quietly making adjustments, they expect to improve more down the stretch with the returns of Starlin Castro and Greg Bird. And Gary Sanchez is getting his swing back hitting a home run in two consecutive games.
The Mets are working with that same mentality of getting younger. Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, and Jay Bruce gone. Trimming salary and getting some prospects, and you hear that Bruce could return next year providing the terms are right because he is a veteran that adds significant punch in the lineup.
Curtis Granderson has heard about the trade talks. He survived the non-waiver deadline and is supposed to be the next one out the door along with Asdrubal Cabrera. But Cabrera, who vouched for a trade, is not complaining and since the all-star break is batting .287 with 13 runs scored and 10 RBI. though going 0-for-4 Tuesday night in the Mets 5-4 loss.
Which brings up a point, and a valid one. The Mets need some veteran presence in their clubhouse and with Cabrera and Granderson they have that. They go about their business, and though Rosario is a little brother to Jose Reyes there is Cabrera who is also a good mentor. And with the arrival of Dominic Smith, who hit his first career Major League home run off Gray, Granderson has become a mentor to Smith.
Granderson, obviously is not a part of that Mets future and there is every reason to assume he played his last game as a Met at Yankee Stadium. As to where Granderson is headed, rule out the rumor that the Washington Nationals are his next destination as a high ranking official said the Nationals have other options with Bryce Harper on the disabled list.
In the meantime, Granderson goes about his business and quietly. He is that remaining leader in a Mets clubhouse that is playing out the string and looking to next year. He is a quiet mentor to Michael Conforto, Rosario and Smith, along with little used Brandon Nimmo.
And there will me more, as the call-ups when rosters expand on September 1st make the Mets clubhouse that more crowded and with a mix. Though this September, the Mets are not in a pennant race, and as much as Granderson would love to be with a contender, his leadership in that Mets clubhouse is needed.
Granderson was not in the postgame clubhouse after the Mets left Yankee Stadium. He was in the back room where players congregate in the visiting team quarters. But you heard from Rosario and about his home run ball that was hit in the ninth inning off Chapman.
“In that situation, I’ve got to cut down on the pressure,” said Rosario through an interpreter. “I went out there looking for his hardest pitch and I hit his slowest pitch.”
That sounded like a Curtis Granderson comment that has been a part of his tenure with the Mets. For now, Granderson is staying put and certain if he goes it won’t be to the division leading Nationals.
Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected] [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso