Yankees have veterans, could Mets use one named Bonds?
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SHOULD METS MAKE ONE MORE HEADLINE?
By Eric Young, ESPNWith the All-Star break coming up, it's a perfect time to take a look at which teams have the best chance to turn around in the second half and make the playoffs. Let's take a look at the two New York teams and see if they are poised for a second-half run or if they are in trouble. Start with the Mets, who have garnered more headlines this season than the Yankees, but for all the wrong reasons. This is a team that has the talent to not only win the National League East, but to run away with it. I believe the best way for this team to do that may be by making one more big headline this summer. Sign Barry Bonds. This is a move that would help this team in several different ways. First, this team is filled with quiet guys who have to deal with the circus that comes with playing in New York. The signing of Bonds would put all that pressure on him and allow the rest of this team to just play ball the rest of the season. Second, this gives the Mets not the most potent offense in only the National League, but in all of baseball. The Mets could trot out a lineup that started like this: Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo/Damion Easley, Carlos Beltran, Bonds, David Wright and Carlos Delgado. In the later innings, they could pull Bonds for Endy Chavez, a better defensive outfielder who could also help rest Bonds' knees. All of a sudden the Mets would go from a solid team that has the ability to contend to a team that is the favorite to win the NL and possibly the World Series. The Yankees, meanwhile, trail both the Rays and Red Sox in the American League East. The Yankees probably shouldn't make the playoffs because of the myriad of injuries and the lack of quality starting pitching, but I believe the veteran core of this team (Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and, of course, The Captain, Derek Jeter) still has the ability to turn it on down the stretch. They will get better in the rotation with the return of Chien-Ming Wang. Adding youth to the lineup in rookie Brett Gardner should be enough of a boost in the dog days to make this happen. Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: July 8 | July 7 | July 6 | July 3 | July 2 | July 1
By Mark Simon, ESPN Research
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The Mets are finally hitting their stride. They've won a season-high five straight, recording back-to-back shutouts against the Giants on Tuesday and Wednesday. Though the pitching has been the story in this series, the primary reason for the surge has been the offense.Not surprisingly, Jose Reyes has been a catalyst. He's hitting .375 in this nine-game stretch in which the Mets have won seven times. They are also getting contributions from Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and David Wright. There are still some holes to fill in the outfield, but management won't be shy about trying to make improvements, so long as the Mets continue to play at this level.
|Turning it around|
|Runs per game||4.3||6.9|
FORWARD THINKING: THURSDAY• Cardinals at Phillies, 1:05 p.m. ET: Braden Looper (9-6, 4.16 ERA) has a respectable record and ERA, but the numbers suggest he has been fortunate so far. Opponents are hitting .284 against him this season, the highest for any pitcher in the NL with at least nine wins. Jamie Moyer (7-6, 4.12 ERA) is 0-3 over his past four starts, though his ERA has remained the same over that stretch.
• Yankees at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET: Interleague makes one final appearance for this makeup game. Mike Mussina (11-6, 3.64 ERA) is 5-1 with a 3.50 ERA on the road this season. Paul Maholm (5-5, 4.05) is 3-0 over his past eight starts. His ERA has dropped from 5.11 over that stretch.
• Angels at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET: John Lackey (6-2, 1.93 ERA) had his five-game winning streak snapped his last time out. Lefties are hitting just .180 against him this season. Scott Feldman (3-3, 4.39 ERA) has won his past two starts despite walking seven against just three strikeouts.• Complete list of pitching probables for Thursday's games
BBTN ON THE AIR: THURSDAY
|10 p.m. ET
|Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Chris Singleton, Tim Kurkjian
|12 a.m. ET
|Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Chris Singleton, Tim Kurkjian
BBTN MINUTE: RAYS, TWINS COOLING OFF
BATS REMAIN A PROBLEM
By Rick Sutcliffe, ESPNIt's an issue that's been brought to light this season, and it's something that's not going away unless MLB and the players' union can come to an agreement: I'm talking about the growing number of broken bats you see on a daily basis at ballparks.
WEDNESDAY'S NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES
|• Carlos Zambrano allowed one hit -- a second-inning solo shot to Adam Dunn -- over eight innings. Zambrano retired the final 20 hitters he faced in the 5-1 win.||BAD|
|• Livan Hernandez was hit hard -- again. The Twins' righty gave up 11 hits and six runs in 4 1/3 innings in a loss against the Red Sox.||UGLY|
|• Hernandez didn't have the worst performance in that game -- Brian Bass did, permitting six hits and five runs in 1 1/3 innings in Minnesota's 18-5 loss.|
"TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME"
It's the 100th anniversary of baseball's most famous tune, and "Baseball Tonight" has asked nine popular musical artists to record a rendition of the song to be used in a battle of the bands. The field has been trimmed to three. Take a listen and vote on your favorite one. The winner will be announced on July 13.
FANTASY: PREVIEW OF THURSDAY'S GAMES
Will Harris examines the pitching matchups for the 13 games on Thursday's schedule of games.
Harris also looks at injuries and details player reports that could help shape your roster for Thursday's games. Daily Notes
NEWS AND NOTES• Mariano Rivera pitched two innings in the Yankees' 2-1, 10-inning win against the Rays. It was the second consecutive outing in which Rivera went two innings. Rivera had not gone two innings back-to-back since 2006.
• Toronto reliever Dustin McGowan has a torn rotator cuff and will miss at least four weeks. McGowan is 6-7 with a 4.37 ERA this season.