Will the Mets win the NL East? Are the Yankees still a contender? We debate Subway Series, Round 1

In 2021, the New York Mets are the league's lowest-scoring offense. However, thanks to the underperforming division rivals and a historic run from Jacob deGrom, they were in first place in NL East in July.The New York Yankees They have also been among the worst-hitting team in the league for much of the season. They started the month with a winning record, but they have been fighting the Toronto Blue Jays for third in the AL East. Instead of hanging around at the top with the Boston Red Sox or Tampa Bay Rays as expected, they have been competing for third. Their GM Brian Cashman has been under pressure due to the approaching trade deadline. He admitted that "we suck right now."We asked ESPN baseball writers Joon and Marly Rivera about the status of the Big Apple's major league clubs, as they meet on Sunday Night Baseball (7 ET on ESPN2; Statcast edition at ESPN2) in an Independence Day Subway Series match. What has been our experience so far? What might happen at the trade deadline? And how far can these teams go?What would your opinion be of the Mets' season thus far?Lee: B. Lee: B. In his introduction to New Yorkers, Francisco Lindor looked a shell of the Cleveland player he was at the plate. Their offense must be more consistent if they are to win the division.Rivera: Bminus. The Mets' 2021 season was nothing but inconsistent. Inconsistency has been a problem for every team that hopes to win the NL East. The Mets' deep pockets enabled Steve Cohen to put together one the most complete lineups in recent franchise history. Although the offense has suffered from inconsistency, injuries and poor pitching, it has made up for it with stellar pitching. For the Mets, what is most important is that they are back to being a team that values solid starting pitching.What would your opinion be of the Yankees' current season?Lee: C-minus but still falling every day. This team reminded me a lot about the 2019 Boston Red Sox. A team that looked great on paper but felt odd when they were out on the field. The Yankees make mistakes in the fundamentals. Brian Cashman, the general manager of the Yankees, bluntly stated that the team was "as bad and as far as they can be." It might not have enough time to get out of this hole. The 2021 Yankees are stuck in the worst place a team can be, a.500 team that inspires hope and frustrates the next.Rivera: Cminus. There were many questions about the Yankees' 2021 season. But none of them had anything to do with their offense. Giancarlo Stouton, Aaron Judge, and DJ LeMahieu shouldn't have any trouble scoring. The Bombers have struggled to score runs, despite not being worthy of the nickname. The Yankees are a slow, right-handed-heavy and power-hitting team that is designed to do one thing. They're not doing this one thing very well at the moment. Surprisingly, the "Gerrit Colle and the rest" hodgepodge has done as well as one could expect after the Corey Kluber injuries. They continue to be supported by one the best relief corps in the game, despite recent struggles and injuries.To keep up with the NL East pace, which players could the Mets trade deadline target?Lee: Given that Carlos Carrasco's return is uncertain and there has been delay in Noah Syndergaard's recovery from Tommy John surgery, the Mets might need some assistance on the pitching side. Jon Gray, a Colorado Rockies pitcher, could be a good fit. Jose Berrios, a player with arbitration eligibility for the Minnesota Twins, could be an even more ambitious acquisition. He still has one year to do arbitration after the 2021 season.The State of Baseball Are baseball games too long? How can the new generation of baseball stars be maximized? We explore the issues that will impact the game beyond this season. The State of BaseballRivera: The Mets have a terrible lack of power. A versatile player with a solid base would help strengthen a lineup that is struggling in all offensive categories. Players like Ketel Marte Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco might be able to fill the gap. With Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco and other injured players returning from injury, the Mets may be low buyers in the pitching department. The Mets should be involved with many of the most popular names in starting pitching such as Minnesota's Michael Pineda and Matthew Boyd from Detroit.Brian Cashman, Yankees General Manager, is hot in New York. Are you expecting him to make a splash at the trade deadline?Lee: I don't think Brian Cashman is in the hot seat in New York. Cashman was fired just minutes after being praised for being one of the best general managers in recent history. He also had a record of winning four World Series titles. The Yankees must do more to improve their standings in the division. They are now further behind the Red Sox and Rays. Although I doubt that one trade will completely change the outlook of this team as it currently has so many problems in its foundation, it feels like a small fix for a larger problem.Rivera: Owner Hal Steinbrenner said Thursday that the Yankees have complete faith in Cashman since 1998, their GM. Steinbrenner pointed to his dugout when he was pointing out the reasons for the team's poor season. He didn't blame Aaron Boone, his coach staff or his manager. Steinbrenner was direct in identifying the players on the team who needed to improve their game. Boone may not be the manager of the Yankees next year if they fail to make the playoffs. However, I fully expect Cashman will at least complete his five-year contract extension that runs through 2022. Steinbrenner wouldn't trade his CBA-year year for any other man than the man he still regards as one of the greatest in the game.Which New York team will go farther this October?Lee: I will vote for the Mets because I believe they have a better chance of reaching the playoffs. Given the inconsistent play in the NL East, I don't think either New York team will make it to the playoffs. The Braves, Phillies, and Nationals could be able to make some room with the rest of this division if they go on a hot streak. Given that the Yankees are also neck-and-neck with the Blue Jays in standings, and that the Red Sox has been very consistent, the mountain they must climb to reach the playoffs is getting steeper every day.MLB on ESPN Watch the 2021 MLB season live on ESPN and the ESPN App. All times Eastern Sunday, July 4.All-Star rosters revealed, 5:30 p.m. ESPNMets-Yankees at 7 p.m. ESPN and Statcast edition ESPN2 Monday, July 5.White Sox-Twins at 7 p.m. ESPNRed Sox-Angels, at 9:30 p.m., ESPN Tuesday, July 6.Brewers-Mets, 7:05 p.m. ESPNYankees-Mariners, 10:05 p.m. ESPNRivera: I'm reluctant to pick the Yankees. The Yankees will be able to reach the postseason as one the "AL East imperfect" teams if they can improve their outfield or starting pitching and get Luis Severino back. Cora was referring the fact that there is no one team in the AL East that is better than the others. The AL East is a season of "Survivor". The Yankees will survive on talent alone (and the benefit of not having to face Tyler Glasnow, one of the greatest players in the game). If we agree with this theory, there is no better lineup than the Yanks. Let me be very clear: I believe that the Mets will reach the playoffs. They won't make it to the championship series. I think the Yankees will reach that in a weaker American League playoff field.