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Weekend predictions: The Subway Series

1. It’s Subway Series time! Matchups, anyone?

The Mets will win tonight’s opener, 5-4, behind a strong effort by first-time starter Hisanori Takahashi. Javier Vazquez will take the loss for the Yankees, allowing four runs in seven innings.

“We were pleased with Javy’s effort,” Joe Girardi will tell reporters afterward. “And we look forward to seeing him pitch when his turn comes up again, three weeks from now.

The Mets will suffer a scare when, up 5-3 in the eighth, Jerry Manuel inserts Fernando Nieve into the game and Nieve immediately surrenders a home run to Alex Rodriguez. “Hmm…maybe I should stop going to Nieve so often,” Manuel will think to himself. “Then again, what would Mike Marshall do?”

2. The Mets will prevail again Saturday night, 6-2, as Mike Pelfrey will continue his outstanding season. When Pelfrey complains of some elbow discomfort after his outing, however, the Mets will act quickly: They’ll immediately send John Maine to see a doctor.

The Yankees, meanwhile, will once again suffer the injury blues. In the same week that Marcus Thames tripped over his bat while running to first, Brett Gardner will stumble face-first into a wedding cake, and Mark Teixeira will accidentally glue his hands to his hair.

3. The Yankees will prevent a sweep Sunday night with a 4-2 victory, as CC Sabathia will outpitch his fellow Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. Some tension will emerge when, after tasting the gluten-free hot dogs at Citi Field, the Yankees file a protest.

Meanwhile, back home, Ike Davis will thrill the crowd when he once again leans over the railing of the home dugout.

"Um, Ike, you're really good at that," David Wright will tell Davis, "but that ball was hit to leftfield."

Alas, consistent with Wright's luck and performance of late, a strong wind will then push the ball precisely where the spot that Davis had been, before Wright advised him to leave.

--So, what do we think about Maine getting lifted after facing one batter? I thought it was absolutely the right decision. How odd that Jerry Manuel's run managing the Mets, which might soon be over and has been characterized by in-game incompetence, has been bookended by two fine moments: His lifting of Jose Reyes in the first inning of his first game, in Anaheim, and last night.

Maine has no legitimate beef, IMO. He has lost all benefit of the doubt with his injury flare-ups of the last couple of years, and by throwing 12 straight balls to kick off his previous start. If you saw Maine's five pitches last night, wasn't it clear that something wacky was going on? Even an amateur pitching analyst like myself could notice. Someone I saw on TV last night, maybe on the MLB Network, said Maine looked like he was throwing batting practice.

--Good column by David Lennon about the Mets' struggling lineup, with thoughts about Manuel and hitting coach Howard Johnson. You do have to wonder whether the Mets would be better off with a new hitting coach. And you also have to wonder whether ownership would sign off on a HoJo dismissal, given his long history with the team.

--Lennon also catches up with Edgardo Alfonzo, who is still playing even though his last big-league stint came in 2006.

--Good story by Neil Best on Bobby Ojeda.

--Over to the Bronx: Yup, the Rays smoked the Yankees good, again. Tampa Bay is too legit to quit. But I think of what Kevin Youkilis said, when I wrote this Red Sox piece a couple of weeks ago: He said the Yankees and Rays would eventually slow down, for if they didn't, they'd be setting records. And if they set records, then the Sawx would essentially have to tip their caps.

The Yankees have slowed down. They're now on pace for a 99-63 record - great, but not transcendent. The Rays? They're on pace for a 119-43 record, which would indeed break all baseball records.

--Nick Swisher returned to the Yankees' lineup, and Thames seems all right.

--Mark Teixeira likes the Subway Series. Austin Romine is doing well in the minors.

--A cheery Curtis Granderson greeted fans as they entered last night's Yankees game, Jim Baumbach reports.

--As Joel Sherman points out, Jose Reyes and David Wright never eclipsed Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, as Mets fans hoped. But Twitter has eclipsed everyone and everything, as it hooked me up with this column.

--New York is an American League town now, Mike Vaccaro opines. I agree.

--Great piece by ESPN's Howard Bryant on David Ortiz. I especially liked the look into the relationship between the Red Sox and NESN, their sports network. It is indeed a tangled web.

--I'll check in later from Citi Field.


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