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Weekend predictions: The Subway Series, Manny Ramirez and Stephen Strasburg

1. The Yankees will pound the Mets, 9-2, in the Subway Series (Part II) opener, ending both the Mets’ seven-game winning streak and the Yankees’ two-game losing streak. Losing pitcher Hisanori Takahashi, a rookie, will allow six runs in five innings in his second career start against the Yankees. Afterward, he'll complain, “Based on the last week, I thought the American League was the easier league.”

The Yankees, meanwhile, will prevail even though winning pitcher Javier Vazquez will fail to cover first base on a key fifth-inning play. “Don’t blame me,” Vazquez will say. “I was just trying to blend in."

2. On Saturday, the Yankees will triumph again, 4-2, behind the strong efforts of Phil Hughes. Nevertheless, Alex Rodriguez will raise some eyebrows when, in the eighth inning, he crawls from first base to second base.

"In a two-run game, I didn't think there was a need of going all out,” A-Rod will explain, “and having a non-crawling double was crucial.”

Mets manager Jerry Manuel, looking to inspire optimism in his fans and his players, will instead confuse people by speculating that Carlos Beltran will not only come off the disabled list to play in Sunday’s series finale, but he’ll get there from Port St. Lucie by flapping his arms and whistling a beautiful tune.

3. The Yankees will make it a Subway sweep on Sunday, defeating the Mets by a 5-1 score, but no one will dispute that a huge stroke of luck will be involved. Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana, a huge soccer fan, will be ejected in the second inning for using a vuvuzela.

The two local teams, having finished their get-togethers for the season, will shake hands and say, "See you in October, for you-know-what."

4. At Fenway Park, the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez will return to Boston and, aided by a highlight film on the video board, receive a healthy ratio of cheers to boos by Red Sox Nation when he comes to bat in the top of the first inning. The bulk of the crowd will choose to remember the good times that led to two World Series titles, rather than the sour times that got Manny booted from Beantown in the middle of 2008.

The usually stoic Ramirez will be so overcome by the moment that he'll excuse himself to use the restroom (see number 16).

5. Stephen Strasburg, in his third major-league start, will defeat the White Sox, 4-1, striking out 11 in six innings. Of course, any run-of-the-mill pitcher can do that against the Chisox's meek lineup. More impressively, while the Nationals bat in the bottom of the third inning, Strasburg will broker a peace settlement between White Sox GM Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen.

--Here's Kimberley Martin's Subway Series preview.

--Jason Bay sat out last night's game against the Indians, but should be good to go for tonight.

--Good piece by David Lennon on Wally Backman, who makes his managerial debut for Class A Brooklyn tonight. I'm fascinated to see whether Backman can utilize his trademark intensity for good while at the same time avoiding any and all embarrassing incidents.

--Jerry Seinfeld will join the SNY broadcast booth next Wednesday, during the Tigers-Mets broadcast, Neil Best reports. That should be highly entertaining.

--Jorge Posada didn't start last night, with A-Rod going at DH and Posada himself admitting Wednesday night that his right foot still didn't feel great after a full night of catching. Again, this is the way the Yankees must go to keep all of their veterans in one piece.

--The Yankees pitchers enjoy hitting, Erik Boland writes.

--Bob Klapisch offers five Subway Series matchups to watch.

--This is interesting: In Kansas City, the umpires took it upon themselves to reverse a call. Good for them. Think of how easy it will be to do this once expanded replay is set up.

No replay necessary, however, to thank Twitter for helping me find the link.

--I'll check in tonight from the Stadium.






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