Baseball’s second half begins tonight, and since yesterday was literally the most boring day on the sports calendar (Kurt-Asle Arvesen won yesterday’s Tour de France stage, if you’re interested), the local papers took the opportunity to look ahead to the season’s final couple of months. John Harper in the Daily News comes right out and hands the National League East to the Mets; Mike Vaccaro thinks they’re thisclose — while cautioning that there’s a long way to go. (We take that to mean that he totally thinks the Mets will win the division, but that he’s a little gun-shy after last season’s disastrous end.) And while it may be dangerous to make long-term predictions in the midst of a nine-game winning streak that has the Mets playing their best baseball of the year, the numbers don’t lie: According to Baseball Prospectus, the Mets have a 60 percent chance of making the postseason — higher even than the first-place Phillies.
The Yankees, on the other hand, would appear to be buried, and the evidence is overwhelming. They’ve got countless injuries, an inconsistent lineup, and a captain arguably having his worst season. And we don’t even know where to begin with A-Rod. Plus, for once, they’re chasing not just Boston but Tampa Bay. Still, there’s this sense that the Yankees will make it somehow. (See glass-half-full stories like this one in Newsday). The argument tends to go something like this: “Well, they’re the Yankees, and they always make it.” And that’s true; they’ve climbed out of some pretty spectacular holes in recent years, and five and half games out of the wild card is far from insurmountable. But again, the numbers don’t lie: Baseball Prospectus lists their odds of making it at just 8.7 percent. And that sounds about right to us. —Joe DeLessio