Your new playoff seeds:

AL: Yankees (1) vs. Texas (3), Minnesota (2) vs. Tampa Bay (4).

NL: Atlanta (1) vs. San Diego (3), Cincinnati (2) vs. Philadelphia (4)

Thoughts: With the Yankees taking back the first seed for the first time since Aug. 22, we're left once again with the question of, "Would you rather have the homefield advantage and take on Texas in a five-game series, or play the Twins but start on the road?"

Cliff Lee got rocked yet again last night. At some point, does this start to impact his free-agent value? I say, only if he gets hit hard in the playoffs. If he's back to the old Lee by a month from now, then the Rangers could easily have the starting-rotation edge in a five-game series with the Yankees.

Over in the NL, meanwhile, the Padres plummet from first to third, although they're even in the loss column with Atlanta and Cincinnati. The Padres have lost six straight, though. They still have a comfortable, five-game lead in the loss column over San Francisco, and I think San Diego's pitching is too good and the Giants aren't good enough, period, for something wacky to happen there.

--I love Twitter for so many reasons, a fella can lose track. But here's one: If you follow the right people, you can get a feel for what people are discussing without having to go all over the Web.

One topic du jour in the baseball world is attendance, and I understand why. Check out some of these crowds from last night, in games featuring teams that would, as you can see above, be in the playoffs if the season ended today:

Mets at Braves: 18,430

Blue Jays at Rays: 12,972

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Brewers at Reds: 19,218

Only the Yankees, with 44,575, and Twins, with 40,186, represented.

So as Cliff Clavin asked, "What's up with that?"

We can't ignore the economy, particularly in Cincinnati. You'd think that the Reds, given a) their rich history and b) the fact that they haven't contended in such a long time, would be drawing like crazy. But you have to think that some people just can't afford to come. And also that the Reds, because of their incompetence and irrelevance over the last decade, have lost some fans in the process.

As for the other two places...we know the Rays just don't draw to Tropicana Field. It's horribly located. They need to get out of there, and at some point - maybe it'll take five years, maybe a decade, maybe longer - they have to relocate, probably still in Florida. Given the paucity of markets around the country, common sense says the Rays have to try Tampa proper or Orlando.


The Braves? Atlanta simply isn't a very good sports town. Throw in the fact that school is now in session there, and (Bleeping) voila, as Leon from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" said here, in this (consider this your official warning) rather profane clip.

So there are both universal and unique factors in play here. No matter the cause, it looks terrible for baseball that such important games can't even crack the 20,000 mark. We'll see if things pick up now that we're spiritually in the stretch drive.

--Off the Yankees game, I wrote about Phil Hughes, and how the Hughes Rules have gone more smoothly in part because of better luck that Joba Chamberlain experienced last season. I don't think luck is the only factor; I think Hughes has a better entire package - stuff and intelligence - than Chamberlain. But I do think we'd be looking at Hughes' season differently if other Yankees pieces had fallen differently.

--Marcus Thames is having an excellent season. his best in the majors at age 33, and I can't help but wonder how much an effort, if any, the Yankees will make to retain him. They'll probably have Jesus Montero on their roster, and Montero will be in line for some DH time. As will Montero's fellow righty hitters Derek Jeter (assuming he returns) and Alex Rodriguez.

--Big start tonight for A.J. Burnett.

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--The Jeff Francoeur trade. It would've been better for the Mets to just hand Francoeur to Texas and get payroll relief, but it appears that wasn't an option. Joaquin Arias is, to be polite, pretty useless. His big claim to fame is that he was traded for Alex Rodriguez, while Robinson Cano stayed with the Yankees.

In any case, look...Francoeur was about as pleasant a guy that I've met in 15 years of covering baseball. But he's a really bad Major League Baseball player. He's just as much to blame for the Mets' fall back to Earth as anyone else. And if you interpret this trade as a sign that the Mets are "giving up" on the season, ay yi yi. To the contrary, playing him so much represented more of a surrender.

I'm curious to see now what Lucas Duda brings to the party, and I remain confident that, with their generally strong starting pitching, the Mets won't fall to pieces here. They'll go 15-15 the rest of the way to finish 80-82.

--Aroldis Chapman made an explosive big-league debut for Cincinnati. Too bad so few people saw it.

--Funny column by T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times about the McCourt divorce trial.

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--Live chat tomorrow at 11? Live chat tomorrow at 11, as Deadspin would probably put it.

--I'll try to check in later.