Thursday: Midterms for Mets, Yanks

It’s back to business for baseball, so we’ve got second-half previews for the Mets and Yankees on tap for today. Adam Rubin has midterm grades for every Mets player and management, plus five things to watch for the second half, and Wally Matthews chips in the same for the Yankees.

The Mets open a potentially season-making or back-breaking road trip tonight in San Francisco, and Adam will be there. His series preview focuses on Carlos Beltran’s return, and the questions it raises for lineup management. Along those lines, Matt Meyers of ESPN The Magazine makes a strong case that the Mets shouldn’t platoon Jeff Francoeur – they should release him.

The Yankees have an extra day off before starting their second-half schedule at home vs. the Rays. Bob Sheppard’s funeral is today on Long Island, and Kieran Darcy will be on the scene. We’ll continue reporting on the biggest story of the summer -- Andrew Marchand had newsers yesterday on the Steinbrenner family’s long-term plans and the potential for a $500 million inheritance tax fight with the IRS, and Ian O’Connor added a fresh column last night on the Boss’ connection to legendary football coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling State.

The Nets introduce Billy King as their new president with a noon presser, and Chris Sheridan will file an analysis of King’s immediate task: to re-stock the NBA’s biggest losers in what’s left of the free-agent market.

Ian Begley will be there when the Red Bulls introduce the Pele of the 21st century for NY/NJ soccer (we love superlatives here, tell me if you agree): Thierry Henry.

Today’s chat: Wally Matthews, noon