The New York Yankees are coming off their worst week in nearly two months.
The New York Mets would like to start enjoying the kind of run their crosstown rivals went on to get ahead in the American League East.
As the annual "Subway Series" starts Monday night at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees are well over .500 while the Mets are continuing their quest to get to the .500 mark and beyond.
The teams will play the first four games in the annual series that began with the introduction of interleague play in 1997. The other two games will take place July 2-3 at Citi Field.
The Yankees are 2-5 in their last seven games after Aaron Hicks hit the tiebreaking double in the 10th inning of a 7-6 win Sunday in Cleveland. Shortstop Didi Gregorius committed an error in the ninth that tied the game.
"These are the kind of games you need," Hicks said. "It was a hard-fought game, a lot of back and forth and we needed to win to end this road trip."
The start of the season series will occur three weeks after first-year Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen held a press conference at Citi Field to give second-year manager Mickey Callaway a vote of confidence. That was after the Mets were swept in a three-game series at Miami on May 17-19.
Since then, the Mets are 12-8 in their past 20 games. They are 32-33 after a 6-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, when Todd Frazier hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs. Noah Syndergaard allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings.
The Mets will attempt to reach the .500 mark for the first time since May 28.
"We're gonna be very, very, very excited going into Yankee Stadium," Callaway said. "I think the city is going to be excited."
"I'm stoked for it," added Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso, who hit his 21st homer Saturday.
The Yankees will open the series with Masahiro Tanaka (3-5, 3.42 ERA), who will be activated from the paternity list following the birth of his second child. Tanaka will be pitching on six days' rest after allowing four runs on six hits in Tuesday's 4-3 loss at Toronto.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.08 ERA in four career starts against the Mets. Last season, he allowed one run in five innings on June 8 at Citi Field but also injured his calf running the bases and missed a month.
Jason Vargas (2-3, 3.57 ERA) will start for the Mets and make his third start since returning from a hamstring injury. He is coming off one of the best starts of his career, when he threw a five-hitter on 117 pitches in a 7-0 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
Vargas owns a 1.85 ERA in his last seven starts. He has not allowed more than six hits in that stretch and has surrendered one run or less six times.
The veteran left-hander is 0-7 with a 6.84 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) against the Yankees. He last faced the Yankees on May 22, 2017, when he allowed three runs in six innings of a 4-2 loss for the Kansas City Royals.
The Yankees are 11-5 in the past 16 meetings, and the past 11 games between the teams have been decided by three runs or fewer. The Yankees also lead the all-time series 69-49.
--Field Level Media