Every so often the Mets win in spite of themselves. The Yankees — and damn them for making me say this — do everything possible to maximize their chances of winning.
Last night Pedro walked six Yankees. Four of them scored. Today Santana walked four Yankees. Three of them scored. Last night Sidney Ponson — he of the island-sized girth and island knighthood — walked four Mets. Today Andy Pettitte walked three Mets. How many of those Met free passes turned into runs?
Seven out of 10 walks converted into runs for the Yankees. Zero of seven for the Mets. Kind of all you need to know right there .
There's some bad luck involved, of course — last night, with the bases loaded and one out in the third, Ramon Castro hit a 3-1 pitch from Ponson hard but right to Jeter. Nothing to criticize there. But overall? The Yankees have been through Giambi's near-death experience and Posada's injury and they look profoundly sound: They work counts, they execute, they have a plan. Sometimes a plan that's undone by lousy relief pitching (Farnsworth did his best to ruin Pettitte's outing today), but it's a plan. The Mets? They get picked off second with their best hitter locked and loaded at the plate trying to tie up the game.
I give up on trying to outguess this profoundly perplexing team — for at least the 10th time in this profoundly perplexing year. This afternoon I got briefly excited to read that Ryan Church should be back tomorrow and Moises Alou could return for next weekend. As if there's any guarantee that Church will remain sound after his body makes contact with a wall, or that Alou will remain sound after his body makes contact with a mild summer breeze. As if there's any guarantee things will change with both of them out there, should that actually occur. After all the evidence to the contrary, what on earth makes me think things will change? I mean, will I briefly get excited when I read that El Duque is long-tossing? I shouldn't, but I undoubtedly will.
We're like rats in a particularly cruel and possibly pointless experiment. We live in a box. There's an orange and blue button in it. About half the time we push the button and a treat pops out of the wall for us to scarf up. About half the time we push the button and get the bejeezus shocked out of us. Periodically the guys in the white coats futz around with the wiring and move the box around, but you know what? I think they've lost track of what they're trying to prove. Because at least from my perspective here in the box, the results don't change. We eat and yelp, we yelp and eat, and since all we've got is a single button to push, we sit in here and try to divine a pattern where there may well be none.