Frank Francisco might not be the best pitcher to ever toe the rubber, but he certainly doesn't disappoint when it comes to entertainment value.
His attempts to close games are sweaty extravaganzas that make him a proper heir to the job once held by Armando Benitez, a trait that's actually only entertaining in hindsight but compelling throughout. Francisco is also willing to lob a few grenades with his mouth, including a shot at the Yankees ahead of the final chapter of this year's Subway Series.
"I can’t wait to face those chickens," Francisco said, via the Post. "I want to strike out the side against them. I’ve done it before."
It's always nice when a guy known for throwing a chair at fans calling him names feels confident enough to call other people cowardly. Particularly when the evidence of this cowardice seems to exist entirely inside the brain of the man making the charges.
This quote will get played up a lot in the run-up to Friday night's opener and could wind up as Francisco's legacy in New York if he blows a game this weekend. Just imagine if Luis Castillo had called the Yankees a band of rapscallions before dropping a routine pop fly.
At any rate, the Mets' chances of reversing the results of their visit to Yankee Stadium aren't going to come down to pithy commentary from the likes of Francisco. No, it will be about the players and possibly the location.
The Yankees' comeback to win the final game of the last series was spurred by a two-run home run by Russell Martin to right field that barely inched over the fence in front of Yankee Stadium's short porch. Those home runs don't exist at Citi Field and, as you've probably heard, the Yankees haven't done a great job manufacturing runs in extended rallies.
Mets hitters have been doing a better job in those spots, especially with Ike Davis resembling something close to the player who inspired much hope in Queens during his first two years with the team. Their bats were silent in the Bronx, but a shift in boroughs could play right into their hands.
The Yankees are playing well, obviously, and they are involved in a real fight for a playoff spot in the American League. Having said that, you could argue that the Mets need these games much more.
The rollercoaster ride of the last 12 games has been good for a few laughs, but it isn't any way to build a summer of contention. The Mets need to show they can sustain good play from one series to the next and now's a pretty good time to start showing it.
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