The Yankees after a horrible week of losing seven of eight to the Mets and Boston (and the last game in Tampa) are now partly righting themselves with two straight wins over Cleveland which has featured the return of Texieria with two big homers. Series finale begins at 1.
The newest revelations regarding A-Rod and others who are facing 100 game bans is another pathetic comment on how these players haven't learned. I have been on record in the past as having a different attitude about players who used in the 90s and whether it impacts their HOF chances or not but no one has any excuse now. For shame to all those who are facing exposure.
Looking over the standings, I have to say its sad to see the Washington Nationals floundering at .500 and now without Strasburg for the next couple weeks. Their collapse in the NLDS last year is the saddest thing I've ever seen happen to a team other than my own and I had hoped to see them have a breakout year and run away with the division.
The Marlins may give the '62 Mets a run for the worst record ever.
Biggest bust of all, the Toronto Blue Jays, whose big player trades have brought them last place in the AL East. They've turned into this year's version of the '92 Mets.
Right now, the Yankees are in the 13th inning of a game where they are giving me bad deja vu attacks to the ALCS last year with the worst case of cold bat disease I've ever seen. Three innings in a row they get a runner to second and every batter after that just whiffs completely.
My first visit to Yankee Stadium in two years was a dud, as I had to see the lifeless Yankees do nothing in Game of the split doubleheader against the Dodgers. Phil Hughes was terrible and right now I wouldn't at all support the idea of retaining him with a long-term contract at the end of the season. When Hughes is good, he's terrific, but when he's bad he is awful and there has been little consistency from him of late.
Thank goodness for the ballpark amenities. I have to say that going to a game to just have fun is more possible at the new Stadium than at the old because they have the Museum, the monuments, better food and all the sense of Yankee history and tradition intact. Those who still mourn the passing of the old Stadium should just move on.
Toronto is on the move now and is charging back into the American League east race. A few weeks ago there was talk that ownership might attempt to bail on some of those large contracts and break up the team in trades. They've put together a streak of 11 wins in a row which must be causing many sighs of relief in the Blue Jays front office after all the money they spent this winter.
I've been looking forward to watching each and every start by the Mets Matt Harvey. A shining star. Just an incredible first full season so far. He's deserved far better in the wins column than his record indicates. If the Mets hit at all in his earlier starts he'd certainly have 10 wins by now. The other "phenom", young Zack Wheeler was also impressive recently in his first start in the Mets rotation so here we go. Bobby Parnell has taken over the closing role and has done an outstanding job so far. He's developed the knuckle curve to go along with a much improved 98 mph fastball and is mixing his pitches well keeping hitters off balance who used to sit in wait regularly on the heat.
The pieces are slowly coming together for next year and beyond. The organization can only go up from here in what aside from Harvey and Wright's contributions has been another frustrating season. Once the Santana and Bay contracts drop off the payroll at the end of 2013, the Mets will have some spending room to bring in a productive bat or two to help out David Wright in the lineup. Wright is having another All Star season and is once again carrying the offensive load on a struggling team which desperately needs to score more runs.
Ike will stay down until he makes some adjustments and gets his swing right. Wally Backman is out there managing and I'm sure when he feels that Ike is ready to come back he'll let Alderson and Collins know. The same thing happened to Davis last year and then suddenly the light went on and he finished with over 30 home runs after a dismal start.
The thing that bothers me a bit is that now they've put Lucas Duda at first to take his place and Duda is a lot happier over there obviously because first base is his natural position. The first night Duda was switched from left to first he looked much more relaxed at the plate and had a multiple hit game. Duda is just minding the store over there until Ike gets things straightened out so while this move might benefit the Mets in the short run in the big picture he's going back to the outfield. Duda is a butcher in left but the Mets need that big power bat of his in the lineup which is a home run threat at any time.
I'm just glad they moved Daniel Murphy back to second base where he belongs. Murphy worked his tail off to learn the position after being shuffled around and has become quite a good second baseman over the last few years.
I ran across this interesting interview by writer Ira Berkow with Mets fan favorite and native New Yorker Ed Kranepool that was conducted not long ago at one of my old haunts in NYC, the Strand Bookstore.
In it, Kranepool muses on his days as a career Met coming up at 17 years of age in the franchises first year in 1962 and playing those early years on notoriously bad Met ballclubs starting at the old Polo Grounds for baseball legend "The Ol' Professor" Casey Stengel. Kranepool is not only funny but insightful about how the game has changed since his playing days in the 1960's through the 1970's and beyond. Even just skimming through it, this IMO is one of the best extended baseball interviews with a former player of that era that I've seen in a long time. (Even though I disagree with Ed about Tom Seaver's contract situation in 1977. Seaver of all people deserved to be paid what he asked for.)