The Yankees enter the Subway Series having lost four of...

The Yankees enter the Subway Series having lost four of their last five series, while the Mets are on a 15-6 run and one game out of a wild-card spot.

Maybe the Yankees should put in a call to the Hamburglar. Or Mayor McCheese.

We know it’s probably beneath the Bronx bluebloods to adopt fast-food characters as rally mascots. But there’s no denying the Grimace Effect in Flushing, as the Mets roll into Tuesday’s Subway Series opener on a 9-2 high, coincidentally after the purple milkshake junkie threw out a first pitch on June 12.

Kidding aside, the Queens renaissance already was underway before Grimace borrowed Mr. Met’s glove that night at Citi Field. It actually began shortly after Jorge Lopez fired his own mitt into the stands, prompting the reliever’s quick release from the Mets and a players-only clubhouse summit after the May 29 loss to the Dodgers.

Since that red-letter date, the Mets have basically saved their season, going on a 15-6 run that has them within one game of a wild-card spot entering Monday night.

Looking at that slim margin, you would think it’s the Mets with more at stake entering this Subway Series. They’re still two games under .500 (37-39) with a new president of baseball operations in David Stearns who likely was getting itchy for a late July sale.

But the Mets, let’s just say, appear more on track at the moment.

Yeah, the whole tacky Edwin Diaz affair is a considerable glitch, and absorbing that 10-game suspension won’t be easy with a suspect bullpen. But Carlos Mendoza & Co. have plowed plenty of adversity during the first two months, and seeing the Mets’ re-energized lineup at work — along with just enough from the rotation — suggests this mojo could stick.


“I feel like we have amazing vibes here,” Francisco Lindor said. “And I’ve always tried to play the game extremely happy and just smile. That’s part of who I am. But yeah, I feel like the vibes here are — we’re in a good spot right now. We are on a good wave and we gotta ride it as long as we can and then jump onto the next one.”

Lindor has been surfing this for a while. Since May 21, a stretch of 29 games, he’s hitting .317 (38-for-120) with six homers, 21 runs scored and a .943 OPS. Keeping pace has been J.D. Martinez — the savvy late-March addition — who, beginning on May 30, has a .317/.419/.633 slash line with six homers and 21 RBIs in his last 21 games.

Unlike their Bronx buddies, however, the Mets aren’t merely a two-man show lately. Since that May 29 clubhouse call for accountability, they lead the majors in OPS (.849), batting average (.290) and runs per game (6.05).

Other favorable indicators: the Mets have won 20 of the last 23 games started by catching prodigy Francisco Alvarez — who returned from the IL on June 11 — and Mark Vientos has made the recent third-base gamble pay off, hitting .284 (21-for-74) with four homers and an .806 OPS since taking over the job full-time from the demoted Brett Baty.

During roughly the same period, the Yankees have gone off the rails. Since an eight-game winning streak capped by the usual gimme sweep of the Twins, the Yankees have lost four of their last five series to the Dodgers, Red Sox, Orioles and Atlanta. They’re 7-9 in that stretch and watched a season-high 4 1⁄2-game lead over Baltimore dip to a meager half-game before bouncing back up to  two games after the Orioles' loss on Monday.

Sitting atop the AL East in late June usually is no reason to sweat. Sure beats the alternative. But the Yankees are developing some worrisome cracks, with most of them showing in just the past week, when Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton wound up on the injured list (as well as star outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez, Stanton’s obvious replacement).

Rizzo has been a shell of his All-Star self but still was counted on as a veteran middle-of-the-order lefthanded hitter before breaking his forearm a week ago at Fenway Park (he’s likely out for two months). In Stanton’s case, the Yankees were fortunate that the fragile slugger stayed healthy for as long as he did, and he had 18 homers and 45 RBIs as the regular DH in less than half a season. But now he’s gone for a month, too, leaving the Yankees with a top-heavy lineup that’s frighteningly lightweight below Alex Verdugo in the cleanup spot.

This month, the Yankees rank 11th in OPS (.740) and 18th in batting average (.239) despite MVP-caliber performances from Aaron Judge and Juan Soto. Stunningly, the Mets have as many homers (27) in June as the Yankees, with Judge (eight) and Stanton (five) providing nearly half that total.

With Stanton’s intimidation factor removed, expect those team stats to drop, and losing him for this Flushing visit is especially painful (38 career homers against the Mets, including 24 at Citi Field). With the Mets throwing two lefty starters in this Subway Series, it’s up to the newly acquired J.D. Davis — formerly of Flushing and both Bay Area teams — to try to pick up the slack. So add revenge to the mix this time around, too.

“Obviously, the Mets are starting to play good baseball here,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I think it’s something that we always look forward to.”

And more meaningful to the Yankees this time around, lest they leave Queens grimacing about their future.


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