Mets, Yanks Stumble Into Marquee Matchup
The Mets (20-19) play the Yankees (20-22) in the Bronx this weekend.
The Mets are coming off a disappointing homestead where they lost four out of seven in series with the last place Reds and Nationals. The Yankees are returning from Tampa where they dropped three out of four to the upstart Rays.
State of the Mets
Pitching: Johan Santana has pitched as advertised and John Maine has developed into a front-line starter. But the rest of the rotation has been shaky.
Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfrey are inconsistent, and the Mets have not found a steady arm to fill the hole left by the injury to Pedro Martinez. The bullpen has been a disappointment as well.
Billy Wagner has returned to his vintage form, and Joe Smith has been excellent, but that is where the good news ends. The rest of the bullpen, especially Aaron Heilman, have not gotten the job done.
Offense: If the Mets did not acquire Ryan Church in the offseason, this would be an ugly conversation. Church is tearing the cover off the ball, but the team has only 30 HRs and has left tons of men on base.
Regulars Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, and Carlos Delgado are all struggling. Moises Alou recently returned to the lineup, but he has been limited. David Wright is hitting .450 vs. lefthanders but only .208 vs. righthanders.
Manager: Willie Randolph is on the verge of losing control of this team. Poor performances by star players have taken the wind out of this team's sails and are in danger of causing a rift in the clubhouse.
Randolph has used 24 different lineups in 39 games. He is waiting for Beltran and Delgado to break out, but he might be waiting a long time.
State of the Yankees
Pitching: Chein-Ming Wang has proved to be a legit frontline starter. Mike Mussina has resurrected his career with a sold start of the season. Andy Pettitte does not look like the Pettitte of old and the fear is that he could be finished.
The rest of the rotation has been a problem. Ian Kennedy does not appear to be ready for the bigs. His baptism by fire has been rocky to say the least.
Phil Hughes is out indefinitely with an injury. He was replaced by Darrell Rasner, who has looked good in his first two starts.
The bullpen has two tales: the eighth and ninth inning work of Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera is a knockout duo; the middle relief has not been as effective as the Yankees would have liked.
Offense: No A-Rod and no Jorge Posada should be enough to tell you that this team has one wheel stuck in the sand. Hideki Matsui is off to a good start, but this lineup has very little right now that scares anyone.
Jason Giambi is hitting .181, and the team is only hitting .258.
Manager: Joe Girardi is getting his balls busted on a daily basis. He has shown patience, especially since he was hoodwinked by Brian Cashman that Kennedy and Hughes were ready to go.
His patience will be rewarded when the team gets healthy.