May 16, 2008

Subway Series '08: Resistable Force Meets Movable Object

So! Fresh from acquitting a man of second degree murder (I was totally like Henry Fonda! Except if all the other jurors had agreed with him from the start and didn't actually have to be convinced of anything), it's time to get back to the really important things in life.

Things like previewing the Subway Series.

#7: "You a Yankee fan?"
#5: "No, Baltimore."
#7: "Baltimore? That's like being hit in the head with a crowbar once a day."

It's hard to say at this point which under-performing New York team is more desperate for wins. Yesterday I had a Yankees fan friend try to tell me that the Mets were in much worse shape right now, because while the Yanks just lost three of four to the Devil Rays, who are now a legitimately good team, the Mets had lost three of four to the "softball girls" of the Washington Nationals. (Side note: I was genuinely sorry to see the great story that is Nelson Figueroa designated for assignment, but that line is a parting gift that will, I expect, keep on giving). My friend was sort of kidding... I think... but the point is that when you're getting into discussions about which New York team just lost three of four to the less lousy opponent, it's a good indication that we're not exactly in a Golden Age right now.

I think the Mets are having a slightly rougher time, though, not because their current situation is any worse (actually it's better, as they're just 2.5 games out of first, while the Yankees are flailing about in last place), but because of last year's lingering bad taste. In a reversal of the normal New York baseball order, Willie Randolph's job is in more immediate jeopardy than Joe Girardi's, the fans at Shea seem less forgiving than those at the Stadium, and there are signs of clubhouse trouble in Queens regarding, as Billy Wagner put it, "accountability." They're under an enormous amount of pressure.

Now normally, as regular readers will be aware, I don't make predictions. Better to let other people go out on a limb, then mock them for it later if they're wrong, that's my feeling. But what the hell: it's the Subway Series, and I haven't gotten any good angry emails in a while, so let's make an exception.

FRIDAY: Johan Santana vs. Darrell Rasner.


Sure, sure, I know, anything can happen in baseball -- sometimes Sir Sidney Ponson throws a gem, sometimes Jake Peavy has a lousy outing, anyone can win on any given day. But "lopsided" is an extremely kind way of describing this matchup. Santana and Rasner have both pitched well this season, but the difference is that Santana is still below his career norms, whereas Rasner is miles above his; gotta figure that'll correct itself at some point.

Prediction: Mets, natch. Nothing's a must-win in May, but a loss tonight would be awfully tough for them. Besides, given the way the Yankees have been hitting lately, I'm not sure Santana could give up more than two or three runs to them even if he was actively trying.

SATURDAY: Oliver Perez vs. Andy Pettitte.

This is a tough one to call, because Perez is so... charmingly unpredictable; he has much better stuff than Pettitte these days, but a significantly less developed sense of how to use it. If you could stick Pettitte's brain in Perez's body you'd have a Cy Young winner, but sadly science isn't quite there yet. Besides, I'm not sure how that trade would work... "Today the Mets acquired Andy Pettitte's brain from the Yankees, and in return sent Carlos Delgado's ability to bunt against the shift at least just once in a fucking while to Jason Giambi in the Bronx."...

Prediction: Yankees, I suppose, though I'm already second-guessing myself, because without A-Rod and Posada, the Yankees haven't hit lefthanders at all -- not even a little. But I'll say Pettitte rises to the occasion with one of his tough six-inning, three-run aversions of disaster, while Perez is eventually done in by a few too many walks. And/or his bullpen.

SUNDAY: John Maine vs. Chien-Ming Wang.

Well, eventually someone's going to have to score a run, right? This should be a fun one.

Prediction: Yankees. Great matchup, but I've got to give the edge to Wang, just barely, because I can see the Yankee lefties doing some damage against Maine; in two starts against the Yanks, he has a 16.50 ERA in 6 innings pitched. While, on the other hand, Wang pitched one of his best games ever against the Mets at the Stadium last June.

However, by Monday, you should understand exactly why I don't make predictions.

A few other notes:

-Kyle Farnsworth, who, I was under the impression, generally walks around the Yankees clubhouse wearing camo undershirts and reading hunting magazines -- when not body-slamming opposing players -- apparently bakes excellent peanut butter cookies. Well, either that, or this is the longest typo in Daily News history.

-Every sports blogger on the planet already mentioned this, but Hank Steinbrenner's quote from a few days ago bears even further mocking:
"This is going to get turned around," Steinbrenner said. "If it's not turned around this year, then it will be turned around next year, by force if we have to."
All together now: "by force"?! He does understand that this is a baseball team, and not a hostage situation or a hostile foreign nation, right? You can't just like invade Robinson Cano and make him start hitting better. Classic.


Anonymous said...

I think you must have meant "resistible force meets movable object", right?

Emma said...

Yep! Thanks.

unmoderated said...

hm, i was sure i dropped a comment in here.

okay, what can't they make movie posters like that anymore?

with the rainout, i had some time on my hands...

yes, i know the math doesn't work out.

Jay said...

"But far from not caring what that public image happens to be, Farnsworth is taking PR steps to improve it. He recently hired Steve Fortunato, a marketing consultant who has worked with Damon, Alex Rodriguez and Bernie Williams among others, to assist him and Pert with some community projects they have discussed, as well as helping him with his image and potential marketing or business opportunities."

Hmmmm, I'm guessing the same Mr. Fortunato is behind this Daily News puff piece, cooking up the story about Farnsworth's ability to double as Betty Crocker. This is the kind of yarn that an old-school horse-trader like Branch Rickey would have fed the public on a weekly basis.

Suddenly I'm more suspicious about Mike Mussina's crossword skills...

Anonymous said...

But we've actually seen Mussina doing the NYT puzzle -- in that amusing documentary called Wordplay. Have we seen Farnsworth baking?