Pete Barrett / The Journal News
Why did Frank Francisco call the Yankees chicken? Maybe to get to the other side…of the New York Post. His comment stirred up a controversy that filled the otherwise mundane media coverage of the second edition of the Subway Series.
One of those only in baseball moments occurred, as Francisco was called upon to protect the Mets 6-4 lead heading into the ninth inning.
He had to back up his comments. If he blew the save, he would look like a goat.
Francisco said he would strike out all the Yankees – he only struck out one – but, he did get through the inning without allowing a run, and picked up his 18th save in the Mets 6-4 win.
Most found his “chicken” comment absurd. How could a team that has some of the most established group of veterans in Major League Baseball, be chicken?
Well, if you look at the Yankees inability to hit in clutch situations, it makes Francisco’s comments a whole lot more interesting.
The Yankees .218 batting average with runners in scoring position ranks 28th in MLB. However, they lead MLB with a .268 batting average with no runners on base. With runners in scoring position and two outs, they are even worse, posting just a .205 clip.
On Friday night, with runners on first and second and two outs Mark Teixeira stepped to the plate. Teixeira popped out to Mets’ shortstop Omar Quintanilla, indicative of his .227 average with runners in scoring position.
If you think that is bad, compare that to Ike Davis’ .235 average with runners in scoring position. And until recently, Davis was dreadful. But Teixeira is not the biggest culprit. Raul Ibanez, who walked in the inning, hits just .207 in those opportunities. Russel Martin just .163, Andruw Jones .160, and Robinson Cano .148.
Cano has hit only 1 home run, and 1 double with runners in scoring position. The freaky thing is, otherwise Cano is performing. He is batting .299, and has hit 15 home runs.
Number 15 came in the top of the eighth inning with a runner on first. He brought the game within two runs, and even in Citi Field the Yankees can erase that pretty fast. Just not when a runner is in scoring position.
The Mets had no problem converting their base runners into runs early in Friday’s game. Justin Turner, who started at second base over Daniel Murphy and Jordany Valdespin, continued his clutch play, smacking a 2RBI single in the first.
Ike Davis, also brought two more home with a three run home run in the first.
The only other Met runner in scoring position was David Wright in the bottom of the seventh, but he erased himself by being doubled off on a Scott Hairston ball which was caught by a diving Andruw Jones.
For the most part, the Mets failed to create opportunities after the first inning, as the Yankees continued to fail in clutch situations. They are chicken, when ducks are on the pond.
The two crosstown rivals continue their fight Saturday night at 7:15. Ivan Nova (9-2; 4.32) vs. Chris Young (1-1, 3.06.)
Poem by Howard Megdal
Davis greets Pettitte
Niese keeps most Yanks in the yard
Frank counts his chickens