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Subway Series appears quite unlikely

Subway Series appears quite unlikely
There's only one image of heaven for the baseball-addicted in New York: another Subway Series. Fans around the country would turn their heads in disgust at the resumption of the Bronx-Flushing Tong Wars, but with two ballparks being christened within eight miles of each other, you have to admit — a Yankees-Mets showdown would look great in HD.

Question is, can an all-New York World Series really happen in 2009? Possible, but not probable. The Bombers are loaded with front-line talent and for the first time since 2003 have at least four starters who can total 200 innings apiece. But their bench is non-existent, and they're counting on a surgically repaired Alex Rodriguez to have a monster year.

A-Rod, of course, still has the talent to crank out another 50-plus homers, but who knows how his body will respond to the daily wear-and-tear. Of equal importance is Rodriguez's self-esteem and how, specifically, he'll handle Selena Roberts' expected blockbuster book, now scheduled for a mid-May release.

The Mets, meanwhile, have significantly upgraded their bullpen, all but sealing off the leak of those 29 blown saves last year. But as tightly as J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez will lock down the last six outs, the Mets are just as vulnerable in the first six innings.

After Johan Santana, the starting rotation is weighed down by at least two critical issues.

The first is John Maine, who must prove he's not afraid of re-injuring his surgically repaired right shoulder. Although Maine insists he'll be at 100 percent by Opening Day, he appeared tentative for much of spring training, subconsciously shortening his stride and robbing his slider of its downward arc.

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Negative headlines generated by J.J. Putz: One. Under. He's fully vested in his role as K-Rod's advance man. At least this year.

Saves by Mariano Rivera: 45. Under. No sign of decay, but the Bombers will miss Joba in the eighth inning.

Saves by K-Rod: 45. Over. He's no diplomat, but the NL hasn't seen a change-up like this since Trevor Hoffman in his prime.

Discussions between Derek Jeter and the Yankees front office about a contract extension: One. Under. No one's touching this for another two years.

Discussions about moving Derek Jeter to another position: One. Under. No one's touching this. Period.

Runs scored by the Yankees: 900. Under. With no A-Rod until May, Mark Teixeira is the key. Can he get off to a good start?

Jorge Posada Trips to the DL: One. Over. Just a hunch his shoulder problems will be chronic.

Date that Joe Girardi starts sweating his job security: May 1. Over.It would take a meltdown of nuclear proportions for Girardi to be in trouble in the first 30 days. But mid-June isn't impossible if the Yankees are slogging along at .500.

Date that Jerry Manuel can stop answering questions about lastSeptember: Sept. 1. Over. They might never end — unless the Mets finally survive a pennant race.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 4, 2009

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