Saturday, June 28, 2008

Split decision

You can't figure out baseball. You can say you have it solved, but then you're either ignorant to the truth or lying.

Take yesterday's split-stadium doubleheader against the Mets for example. Dan "Don't Call Me Don" Giese pitches four-plus piss poor innings (NYY now 0-2 in Wang-less starts), and the bullpen blows up, and before you know it you're a 15-6 loser in your home park. After that four-hour abortion of a game, both teams hop on buses and head to Shea for the second game, where future Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez was starting against current Hall of Famer drinker Sidney Ponson.

The Mets are set up for a sweep, right? Not exactly. Ponson pitches his way out of some early trouble and the Yankees bats come to life in a 9-0 win. Carlos Delgado, who had nine freaking RBIs in Game 1, couldn't get a hit in Game 2.

So no, I can't figure out this game and neither can you. All I can say with some modicum of certainty is that Ponson and Giambino probably had a meeting with their buddy Jim Beam after the game and Yankees fans -- presently company included -- slept much easier coming away with a split.

Ross Ohlendorf, ye of the disgraceful relief abilities in Game 1, can think about his strategy against Delgado on his bus rides through Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. When you're replaced on a roster by Kei Igawa (ERA of 0.00 yesterday!) you know you're doing something wrong. Meanwhile, in a move that mixed roster maneuverability and actual injury, Hideki Matsui was moved to the 15-day disabled list with a bum left knee. "If I needed to play right now, I could play as long as I don't run so hard," Matsui told Of course, this is a problem seeing as baseball requires you to run hard to succeed.

I wrote on June 17 that a then red-hot Yankees could conceivably go 9-3 the rest of their Interleague schedule. It hasn't exactly worked out that way, the Yanks are 5-4 with two games remaining against the Mets (Friday's rainout vs. the Bucs was moved to July 10). The team is playing OK at the present time, taking these last two games from a .500 Mets team would be a nice shot in the arm before opening a nine-game homestand against the Rangers (three games) Red Sox (four) and Rays (two). Whenever the AL East leaders and the AL Wild Card leaders are coming into your building back-to-back, you can mark it on your calendar as an important moment in your season.

But first things first. Pettitte -- who hasn't allowed a run in his last 19 innings -- gets the call today against Johan Santana. Pettitte is 7-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 17 career regular season starts against the Mets. Santana has pitched well this season (2.93 ERA, 95 strikeouts), but has only a 7-6 record to show for it. However, he's never lost to the Yankees, compiling a 4-0 record with a 2.98 ERA in 48 1/3 career innings.

Around The Horn: Pettitte is currently riding the second-longest scoreless streak of his career -- he had 22 scoreless frames in 1997. ... Santana has lost his last three decisions. ... Bobby Abreu went 4-for-4 in Game 2, raising his average to .285. He is on pace for 110 RBIs, which makes sense since Abreu drives in 110 runs every single season. ... Jeter's RBI double in the nightcap extended his hitting streak to 15 games. ... The Twins won their 10th straight game on Saturday, moving a full game up (one in the loss column) over the Yankees in the Wild Card chase. ... Vote the deserving Yankees into the All-Star Game on July 15.

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