1. The Mets will not be able to kick their road hiccups quite yet, losing two of three games to the Orioles this weekend at Camden Yards. Even worse, Lady Gaga will travel to Baltimore for the sole purpose of taunting the Mets.

"What better place," Lady Gaga will ask reporters, "to flip the bird?"

Johan Santana, meanwhile, will not pitch - it won't be his turn - but he'll find himself contemplating the advice of his Subway commercial pal CC Sabathia: "Never pass up an opportunity to pitch against the Orioles."

2. The Yankees will sweep the lowly Astros at Yankee Stadium, demonstrating once more the wide disparity between the American League and the National League. Disappointed ex-Astro Andy Pettitte, after shutting down his old team tonight, will say, "Now they really are like a Dairy Queen (play video)."

Joe Girardi will get ejected Saturday for not wearing his cap, duplicating his look from last Sunday. "He didn't say anything wrong," the home-plate umpire will say of Girardi. "But really, the 'no cap' thing is a bad look for Joe. He reminds me of Michael Douglas in 'Falling Down.'"

3. In front of an eager crowd at Progressive Field, Stephen Strasburg will maintain the dominance for his second major-league start, striking out 10 Indians in 5 2/3 innings of work and causing Cleveland manager Manny Acta to grow furious.

"I understand how exciting this kid is," Acta will explain. "But that doesn't excuse our players bowing down to Strasburg, or asking him for his autograph. Or, worst of all, putting out these, 'Stephen Strasburg struck me out, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt' T-shirts."

--Omar Minaya tried to clear up the situation regarding Carlos Beltran's injury clock. Although, unless I'm mistaken, the maximum time a non-pitcher can spend playing in minor-league rehabilitation games is 20 days. So Beltran would have to be closer to being ready once he starts that clock.

--The Mets hit into a triple play, although it was pretty much forgotten by the end of Jon Niese's masterpiece.

--Good piece by David Lennon (at least, I think it's by David Lennon) on Chris Carter, and his acceptance of the nickname "The Animal." Carter started in leftfield in last night's nightcap, and he blasted a double and scored the game's first run in the second. In the sixth, however, when he reached first base on a fielder's choice, Angel Pagan entered the game to pinch run for him and then stayed in the game in centerfield, moving starting centerfielder Jesus Feliciano to left.

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Was Carter injured? Nope, Jerry Manuel said, it was just an early strategic move. "We were hoping Chris wouldn't get any fly balls," Manuel said frankly, with a smile, and he didn't. And now Carter has at least a little comfort heading into this nine-game American League road swing, during which he'll get some starts at DH.

--The Padres' bullpen was awesome. I hustled home from Baltimore yesterday because I wanted to see San Diego play, and I'm glad I did. The Padres are a fun team to watch. I do wonder, though, if they can stay in the race the entire season. It feels like they don't have much margin for error/injury with that lineup.

--Wilmer Flores - a shortstop who projects as a centerfielder - is pretty much untouchable, Lennon writes. At least, I think it's Lennon who writes it.

--Down in Baltimore, we'll find out more today about Alex Rodriguez's groin condition. Jorge Posada is a few days away from returning to catching.

--Good interview by Erik Boland with Damon Oppenheimer, the man who just completed running his sixth Yankees amateur draft. Damon refers back to his first draft, 2005, and he's right - he got absolutely hammered for not taking Glen Cove's Craig Hansen, a Scott Boras client. Hansen is still in the minor leagues, however, and while the Yankees' first-round pick C.J. Henry was an even bigger bust, he served as a warm body in the Bobby Abreu trade.

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2005 third-round pick Brett Gardner, furthermore, is an important part of these Yankees, and eighth-round pick Austin Jackson helped get Curtis Granderson in a trade. Speaking of Jackson, you might notice he has fallen back to Earth some.

--And speaking of Gardner, our official Gardner wager has now concluded, with the Yankees reaching the 60-game mark. As you can see by the link, Jim challenged me in spring training that Gardner would not be an everyday player after 60 games.

While Gardner has sat the last few days with a left thumb injury, he clearly has established himself as an everyday player. Jim was wrong, and from reading the comments, NaOH, Richie G., Islander505 and Steve from South Amboy joined me in being right. Jim, always gracious, already has written his check to the Alzheimer's Association. Thanks for being so accountable and generous, Jim.

--Finally, live chat today at 11. Who will be the Live Chat MVP? It helps everyone's chances that I can't even remember who won the last one.

 

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