Friday, June 12, 2009

Interleague Madness

The Yankees and Mets are meeting up at the new Yankee Stadium tonight, and both teams have seen better times.  The M.A.S.H.'ing Mets are limping into this weekend's subway series four games behind the Phillies and even behind the Brewers & Cardinals of the NL Central.The Yankees, on the other hand, are still in the driver's seat for the wild card.  As we discussed yesterday, the Bronx Bombers had an opportunity to hurt the Red Sox by exposing Brad Penny as an overweight, leprechaun-hugging, jadrool loser.

Instead, the Yankees managed six hits, one walk, and no runs in Penny's six innings of work.  They also struck out five times.

I really believe that last night's performance improves Penny's perceived value quite a bit.  People around the league are more inclined to think of him as the guy who, in 2007, went 16-4 with a 3.03 ERA, 151 ERA+, and only 9 HR's in 208 innings.  Theo Epstein will be pawning off that story, while trying to make people forget Penny disastrous 2008, where his ERA was 6.27, he had a 68 ERA+, and he gave up 13 HR's in only 94 innings.

The Yankees took a 3-1 lead against reliever Manny Delcarmen, but subsequently lost the game in the 8th inning to a 4-3 Final.  So, everyone on ESPN, the New York media, and the MLB Network can go on and on about how the Yankees can't beat the Red Sox until they meet up again August 6th.

Wait.  What?!  I don't think I'm prepared for six more weeks of a world where this underlying theme will be analyzed and prophesied by the neanderthals on sports talk radio and people of Skip Bayless' ilk.  Thank goodness we're National League fans over here.

Meanwhile, Boston is heading down to South Philly to take on the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies this weekend.  It's terrific for Boston that Big Papi hit his 4th HR last night because he can now safely ride the National League stadium pine for a few days with a big fat smile on his face.

Interleague play brings more unusual matchups this weekend.

The Cubs, who appear incapable of competing like a formidable ball club are hosting the Twins, who feature Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, the lunch pail masher Jason Kubel, and perhaps the league's finest closer Joe Nathan.  (Coming into this season, Joe Nathan's ERA+ for the last six years have incredibly been: 316, 284, 276, 262, 282, 261.  An ERA+ of 100 is league average.  Brad Penny's ERA+ last season was 68, and when he went 16-4 with a 3.03 ERA, it was 151.)

The Braves and Tigers are taking their two prized, young hurlers, Tommy Hanson and Rick Porcello, on the road.  The Braves are in Baltimore, while Jim Leyland will try to get the Tigers bite the hand that once fed him in Pittsburgh tonight.

On a sensitive note, Jim Leyland should conjure up memories of the most recent winning season in Pirates' history, back when they had Bonds and Bonilla.  It would be interesting to know if rekindling those memories would make Pirates fans happy or sad.

The average IQ of people in southeast Wisconsin is about to be lowered by about a point and a half, as White Sox fans cram into their Chevy Monte Carlo's and head up the highway to showcase their mullets and tattoos in the stands of Miller Park.

Neighboring California teams are facing off, as the Padres travel up to Anaheim and the Oakland A's travel across the bay to take on the Giants in San Francisco.

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