58° Good Morning
58° Good Morning

Saturday reading: Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, the Mets' latest mess (not their fault) and Roy Oswalt

The Yankees lost, in a game best characterized by Ivan Nova's inability to throw strikes and the Rangers' ability to turn double plays. But I focused my column on the day's earlier event, Phil Hughes' placement on the disabled list

The Yankees' starting rotation certainly doesn't look playoff-caliber so far. But let's face it: The Red Sox's horrendous start has alleviated the pressure on the Yankees - the Yankees reside atop the American League East this morning, at 7-5 - and also taken away attention nationally.

Nova looked terrible for the second straight start, after pitching so well in his first start of the season. The Yankees badly need him to simply be a "bare minimum quality start" guy - six innings, three runs every time out will lead to many Yankees victories.

I hung out in the Rangers' clubhouse for a few minutes afterwards, and I thought this was interesting: Texas knocked Nova out of the game with a three-run fifth, and when Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison took the mound for the bottom of the fifth, he walked leadoff batter Jorge Posada, unnerving the rest of the Rangers.

Harrison said he spent the long top of the fifth in the cold Rangers' dugout, rather than seeking shelter in the warm clubhouse. He regretted that decision. But he recovered to get - what else:? - a 1-6-3 double play from Derek Jeter.

--The Mets were annoyed by the Braves' rescheduling of last night's rainout as a doubleheader today, and I don't blame the Mets. Ever since they brought back the unbalanced schedule in 2001, it seems to me there has been a protocol - apparently unspoken and unwritten, it turns out - for rainouts:

If it's between division rivals, and it's either the first or second visit (of three) to that town, then you push it back to the next visit. Teams usually like to have as much time as possible to prepare for doubleheaders, for obvious reasons.

I've never seen this sort of quick makeup occur for an intra-division game, and to be honest, I don't know the precise letter of the law. it sounds like the Braves had the final call, and they clearly wanted to capitalize on the Mets' current weak pitching staff.

Meanwhile, raise your hand if you're surprised Chris Young is hurting. Yeah, that's what I thought.

--Brad Emaus will get a better chance to play every day, Terry Collins said. Collins definitely has shown an inclination to "play the hot hand" - Daniel Murphy at second base, Willie Harris in leftfield - and de-prioritize big-picture development issues. Emaus hasn't gotten a full chance to prove himself, and Lucas Duda is now back in the minor leagues after getting supplanted by the vetern Harris.

--Roy Oswalt left his start early because of a strained lower back, the first health scare for the Phillies' elite starting rotation this season. Oswalt says he'll be all right for his next start Wednesday.

--Have a great day.


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