Thursday, June 26, 2008


DAN GIESE AND SIDNEY PONSON pitching for the Yankees in a double-header against the Mets? If pigs could fly.

That would have been my reaction (the clean version, that is) if you had predicted such an event would come to pass at the start of the current baseball season.

But here we are, still in June, and injuries have forced the Yanks to turn to two pitchers who weren’t even on the roster in spring training.

With Chien-Mien Wang, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy all on the DL (Kennedy has begun his rehab in the Minors), only Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina remain from the original five-man rotation.

Desperate times calls for desperate measures. And, believe me, the Yanks must be desperate if they’re having to call on Ponson.

Regular watchers will no doubt recall his five appearances (three starts) in 2006 when he had an ERA of 10.47.

The goods news is he pitched a lot better in nine games for the Texas Rangers this season, going 4-1 with an ERA of 3.88.

But not well enough for the Rangers to overlook an alleged disturbance in a St. Petersburg hotel during a road trip, or a heated argument with manager Ron Washington.

Injuries force Yankees to take pitching gamble

Clearly, the Yankees are rolling the dice with Ponson. How long his “second coming” lasts remains to be seen. If, as I fear, the Mets have their way, it might be “for one night only.”

Giese is a different kettle of fish, if you’ll pardon the pun. He did a good job on his first start against the Cincinnati Reds last Saturday, giving up just four hits in 6.2 innings. 

He’s probably going to be around for a little while longer, at least until the front-line pitchers are back or general manager Brian Cashman makes a trade.

With Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui the latest Yanks to be banged up, it has been a very disjointed first half of the season.

The Mets are already 2-0 up in the Sub-Par Series so the Yanks are going to have their work cut out to repeat last year’s 3-3 split.

True, the Mets aren’t exactly setting the world alight under new boss Jerry Manuel, losing two out of three at home to the worst team in baseball, the Seattle Mariners, those same Mariners who lost all six games against the Yanks.

But they’re always fired up to beat their cross-town rivals and they have the added advantage of coming off a rest day.

With Mike Pelfrey and Pedro Martinez on the hill tomorrow, they undoubtedly have the pitching advantage.

Saturday’s mouthwatering match-up has Johan Santana going against Pettitte, while Oliver Perez faces Darrell Rasner on Sunday.

Both teams have lost ground to make up in their respective leagues and divisions. With the All-Star break fast approaching, this could be well be a pivotal weekend.

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