Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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Fresh off referring to the Yankees as chickens in the New York Post, Frank Francisco was called on to close out Friday’s game. It wasn’t pretty and he didn’t strike out the side like he promised, but he was able to escape a jam to notch his 18th save as the Mets won the first game of the weekend Subway Series by a score of 6-4.

The Mets plated five out of their six runs in the first inning off Andy Pettitte, the big blow of which was a three-run home run by Ike Davis. He actually got a little help from Nick Swisher, as the ball deflected off his glove and over the right field fence as he was attempting to make a leaping catch. Pettitte settled down after the rough first while the Yankees chipped away against Jon Niese and the Mets’ bullpen, getting home runs from Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones and Robinson Cano.

The man of the hour, Frank Francisco, entered the top of the ninth with a two-run cushion and got Russell Martin to fly out to deep center field for the first out. In typical Francisco fashion, he made things interesting by walking Raul Ibanez and giving up a single to Derek Jeter, but he was able to get Curtis Granderson to strike out looking and induced a pop up from Mark Teixeria to end it. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who had Luis Castillo flashbacks on that last one.

The Mets are now winners of four straight and will enter play tonight at a surprising 39-32, 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Nationals in the National League East.

Your Friday box scores:

Nationals 1, Orioles 2

Tigers 1, Pirates 4

Braves 4, Red Sox 1

Twins 5, Reds 4

Blue Jays 12, Marlins 5

Rockies 1, Rangers 4

Indians 2, Astros 0

Brewers 1, White Sox 0 (10 innings)

Cardinals 11, Royals 4

Dodgers 5, Angels 8

Giants 5, Athletics 4

Mariners 5, Padres 9

Cubs 1, Diamondbacks 6

Rays/Phillies – postponed, doubleheader on Sunday

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.