Key Baseball Notes

OUR SUNDAY JIM SEZ COLUMN FEATURES KEY BASEBALL NOTES

WE CHECK ON TONIGHT'S SUBWAY SERIES SHOWDOWN STARRING DICKEY VS. SABATHIA, PLUS CINCY'S CUETO GETS SOME CENTER STAGE LOVE TOO!

By Jim Hurley:

The Big Apple is buzzin'!

There's a Subway Series baseball game tonight that has New York City all juiced up ... and why not?

On one hand there's the New York Yankees - fresh off snapping a mini three-game losing streak thanks to last night's hang-on-for-dear-life 4-3 triumph over the New York Mets - and on the other hand is a 37-year-old pitcher who just now is starting his career (in a way).

Folks, the season's single-biggest story on the diamond in Gotham City has been the exploits of Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey who is a sizzling 11-1 ERA with a tidy 2.00 ERA and how about the fact he's struck out 103 batters and walked only 21. The truth is Dickey's been even better than those numbers as he comes into this prime-time clash off a pair of back-to-back one-hitters in his last two starts (and both of those games came in Interleague action against Tampa Bay and Baltimore, respectively).

Now, Dickey looks to weave his magic against the archrival Yankees (42-28) who have not seen a knuckleballer this year - remember Dickey is the only one of his kind still left in Major-League Baseball and he didn't pitch in the first Subway Series go-around two weekends ago in The Bronx - and may be a tad surprised to see just how hard Dickey throws his famed pitch ... like 80-to-84 mph and the ball still moves 'round the plate but better than the traditional slower knuckle balls.

Is it than possible this evening that Sabathia (9-3, 3.55 ERA) - a one-time Cy Young pitcher in his days with the Cleveland Indians - really is a fall-beneath-the-radar pitcher here?

Hey, Sabathia will be the last guy to complain about that but it's truly gonna be a treat watching the Yankees' still-deadly lineup attempt to get in their hacks against Dickey and - ask us right here and right now what's gonna give - and we'll tell you the guys with the best shot at hitting him tonight at spacious Citi Field include LF Raul Ibanez (he'll take a nice, patient approach) and maybe even catcher Russell Martin (despite the lowly .197 batting average this year) who will be more than happy to "go the other way".

It's not just any Subway Series showdown tonight in New York City: This one has been a short list of most-anticipated games in the big leagues this year and all we'll say is if Dickey throws a one-hitter here (yes, a true long-shot, we understand) than Mets Nation might explode right there onto Roosevelt Avenue.

We know y'all be watching, right?

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have put a highly successful 2012 NBA Playoffs in their rear-view mirror as the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in the NBA Finals and now out attention's 100 percent focused on all the Major-League Baseball Winners! Check in with us either right here online or else at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the daily and nightly MLB winners.

In other MLB News & Notes ...

Okay, so in this pitching-rich 2012 baseball season - where there is seemingly a no-hitter or one-hitter every other day - the truth of the matter is there was only one shutout in the bigs on Saturday and that was authored by Cincinnati Reds RHP Johnny Cueto (9-3, 2.21 ERA) who blanked the Minnesota Twins 6-0 before 41,750 folks at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. Note that Cueto struck out a season-high nine batters while yielding a mere three hits (two singles and a Joe Mauer double) en route to snapping the Reds' four-game losing skid.

Cueto is unbeaten in the month of June - he'll get one more start this month and that's probably Thursday night in San Francisco -- and for all the deserved accolades for the Mets' Dickey and perfect game pitcher Matt Cain of the aforementioned Giants, it's Cueto who may be the real pitching star of this season while leading the Reds to a 39-31 mark (best in the National League Central) and behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals in all the senior circuit ...

Maybe by the time you're reading this Boston Red Sox 1B/3B/DH Kevin Youkilis will have been traded:

Last night the folks on Fox (i.e., ace reporter Ken Rosenthal) was claiming that Youkilis would be gone from Beantown any minute now with the likes of the Dodgers and Chicago White Sox among his main suitors but while everyone piles on to make this a manager Bobby Valentine versus Youkilis issue the fact remains there is really no place for the former Sox star to play as 3B Will Middlebrooks (9 HRs, 33 RBIs and hitting .331) is already a star in town and there is no pushing out 1B Adrian Gonzalez or DH David Ortiz.

Maybe Youkilis (.225 BA with 4 HR and 13 RBI in 40 games) should have take better care of himself both last off-season and this current campaign. Good riddance is what most of Red Sox Nation should be saying right about now! ...

Finally, let's look at some of the crazy box score notes from Saturday's MLB action:

How about the fact that Texas Rangers RHP Colby Lewis allowed 8 runs - 7 of which were earned - on 12 hits in just four innings of work in an 11-7 matinee loss to the Colorado Rockies. Lewis - who dropped to 6-6 on the year (although his ERA only went up to 3.51) surrendered those dozen hits on just 89 pitches and so he allowed Rockies hits every 7.4 pitches. Ouch!

Than there were the respective bullpens of the Washington Nationals and host Baltimore Orioles in the Nats' 3-1 win on Saturday night - the pens combined to throw 6.2 innings of scoreless ball (four of those innings by the O's) and if Baltimore wants to find how it lost for the fourth time in five games than look no further to the #1-thru-#5 hitters who combined to go 2-for-20 including CF Adam Jones' too-little, too-late 19th dinger;

We wrap up this little box score mania with a trip to Houston where the Astros rebounded from Friday's 2-0 loss to Cleveland with a resounding 8-1 win and what was a better story on this day than the pitching of kid starter Dallas Keuchel who surrendered just one run with six hits and 1 BB in a complete-game masterful performance - and all in front of his proud parents, to boot!

Note that the polished Keuchel threw 107 pitches in all and 70 of 'em went for strikes and only Indians 2B Jason Kipnis (3-for-4 with all singles) could solve the star-in-the-making hurler for the 'Stros who is now pitching to a miniscule 1.29 ERA in two starts.

NOTE: Catch our NBA Mock Draft in Wednesday's edition of Jim Sez.

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