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Weekend predictions: Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Diamondbacks

1. The Mets, continuing their series with the Nationals at Nationals Park, will lose two of three games, wrapping up a lousy road trip. And there will be blood: Two more players will suffer injuries, but in typical Mets fashion, the information will be hazy.

David Wright will sit Saturday with what the team calls a left foot injury. “Actually,” Wright will say politely, “it’s my right ear.”

And Ike Davis will miss Sunday’s game with what the team calls a stomach virus. “I can understand the confusion,” Davis will say, modestly, “but it’s technically a tarantula bite.”

The only positive for the Mets? They’ll win tomorrow when Stephen Strasburg, thought by many to be a robot, can’t process Jerry Manuel’s head-scratching, in-game decisions and explodes.

2. The Yankees will take two of three games from the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, during a placid holiday weekend. The only excitement will revolve, not surprisingly, around Alex Rodriguez.

Tonight, A-Rod will go deep in the first inning for his 596th career homer, and he’ll admit afterward, “I thought it was the ninth.”

Tomorrow, A-Rod will make a diving stop of a Vernon Wells line drive, and he’ll sheepishly concede afterward, “I thought we were playing football.”

And on Sunday, he’ll sprint around the bases after homer number 597, and he’ll explain afterwards, “I thought I was being chased by zombies.”

3. The Red Sox and Phillies will win their respective series against the Orioles and Pirates, but the Yankees’ and Mets’ main rivals will spend most of their weekend trying to figure out why they’ve suffered such a rash of injuries. They’ll decide that, moving forward, the best way to stay healthy  is to swim in the East River .

4. The Diamondbacks, fresh off their housecleaning, will win just one of three games against the Dodgers. Kirk Gibson, once a football player at Michigan State, will treat every day like life and death, screaming and groaning in the dugout through every twist and turn.

“Goodness gracious,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre will say. “That guy reminds me of someone from my past.

--Good piece by David Lennon about Carlos Beltran's impending return, and how the Mets will deal with that. The only reason this would be exceedingly difficult is if Manuel and the Mets can't come to terms with the notion that - of the four outfielders in question - Jeff Francoeur should receive the least playing time.

Want to start Frenchy against lefties? Sure, go for it, and rest Pagan, whose health is in question, anyway. Beltran needs to rest one or two days a week? No worries. Want to give Jason Bay a blow more often? OK. But if Pagan is sitting extensively so that Francoeur can play, well, that would be one more case of bad managing.

--Here's my column on the Yankees, about which I tipped you off yesterday. I appreciate no one alerting the competition.

--A.J. Burnett will try to end his slump today, and his comments in this story are pretty funny. Something tells me Mike Harkey won't be using Burnett as a job reference.

--George Steinbrenner turns 80 on Sunday - so he says; there always has been speculation that he altered his birth certificate to appear more patriotic with the July 4 birthday - and his family celebrated yesterday.

--CC Sabathia pitched well again yesterday.

--Good piece by Erik Boland on Yankees prospect Andrew Brackman, who seems to have found himself this season.  

--As for Arizona's firing of A.J. Hinch and Josh Byrnes: Very surprising, and the Byrnes firing was downright foolish, IMO. Yes, the D-Backs have been a train wreck for two years now. But all you have to do is look at their roster and their statistics to see that the primary cause of the wreckage was a bad bullpen.

Yup, Byrnes messed up when he traded Jose Valverde after the 2007 season. But you don't fire a GM because of a bad bullpen. There's too much luck and randomness involved.

Clearly, the Hinch hiring - controversial when it occurred last year - wasn't working. Still, to let him go and replace him with Kirk Gibson kind of shows the thinking of Arizona upper management.

Maybe Gibson won't be the fiery stereotype we envision; as a bench coach for many years now, maybe he'll incorporate statistical analysis heavily into his decision-making. But something tells ms that the Diamondbacks want Gibson to be that fiery stereotype.

In any case, Byrnes gets paid through 2015, so he can take his sweet time pondering his next move. He will certainly have options, though, for a consultant-type position immediately, and here's betting he gets another GM opportunity down the line.

--Have a great weekend. I'm headed to DC tomorrow for the Mets' game against Stephen Strasburg, and I'll check in Sunday morning.

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