These games count

Let’s talk baseball.

Let’s talk about the Yankees, who are cruising to victory in
this game and seem healthier than they have at any point this year. Despite
their blowout loss in Friday’s day game — and we’ll just forget about that one
— the Yankees have suddenly placed themselves in contention. They’re doing it
with Sidney Ponson, for goodness sake. It’s going to take work to make the
playoffs, but somehow, they’re in a legitimate position to get there. 

Let’s talk about the Mets, who won the day game in
convincing fashion, and due to a string of Phillies losses and one minor
miracle, also remain in playoff contention. They did it today with Carlos
Delgado, whose bat they desperately need to rediscover. And a week from now
they’ll head to Philadelphia,
perhaps to reclaim the division lead.

Seems this dual-stadium doubleheader is more than just a
flashy gimmick, more than a way to get fans bantering back and forth at the
ballpark. There was chanting, sure — there still is up high in the stadium,
even now with the second game all but decided. But these games are significant,
and neither team distinguished itself today. 

One step forward for the Mets, and one step back.

One step back for the Yankees, and one step forward. 

So let’s talk about the future for these teams, and most
specifically, these next two games. The Yankees and Mets are pitting perhaps
their hottest pitchers against each other on Saturday, with Andy Pettitte starting
opposite Johan Santana. Then it’s perhaps their coldest starters on Sunday,
with Darrell Rasner countering Oliver Perez. Both games are evenly matched. A
split seems plausible.

But each team desperately wants to win both.

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