Mets designate Opening Day cleanup hitter Mike Jacobs for assignment

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Only the Mets could bat someone in the cleanup spot Opening Day and then designate him for assignment less than two weeks later, but that’s what they did today with first baseman Mike Jacobs.
After starting Jacobs in six of the first eight games with Daniel Murphy on the disabled list the Mets dropped him from the 40-man roster this afternoon, calling up Tobi Stoner to have an extra arm in the bullpen following last night’s marathon win over the Cardinals.
Jacobs is an overrated, mediocre hitter with a terrible glove, so letting him go is perfectly reasonable. The funny part is that for the first two games of the season Jerry Manuel looked at his available options and decided putting Jacobs in between David Wright and Jason Bay gave the Mets their best chance to win.
And then, once he got over that insanity, Manuel batted Jacobs fifth behind Wright and Bay in four of the next six games.
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com speculates that cutting Jacobs loose could signal the impending arrival of first base prospect Ike Davis, who began the season at Triple-A despite a very impressive spring training. Davis is 12-for-33 (.364) with two homers and three doubles in 10 games at Buffalo, but the 2008 first-round pick just turned 23 years old last month and has played a grand total of 65 games above Single-A.
Of course, no one has ever accused the Mets of having a plan, let alone sticking to one.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.