Sorry, I've got a morning flight back home, and then I'll be running around at home today before I head up to Boston tomorrow. So, just some basics:

--Just so we're clear: The Yankees' tragic number - for the Rays to clinch the AL East - is 3. Any combination of three Yankees losses and Rays victories will put the Yankees in the AL wild-card slot, which means they'd open the playoffs at Minnesota.

So the earliest the AL East seeds could be wrapped up is Friday night, if the Rays were to beat the Royals in Kansas City tonight and tomorrow night and the Yankees were to lose in Boston tomorrow night.

--Off the Yankees game, I wrote a checklist of Yankees priorities before the regular season concludes. After last night's dreadful performance, Javier Vazquez can pretty much head home. There'd have to be an injury epidemic for him to get consideration for even a bullpen spot.

Maybe we'll find out down the road that Vazquez had an arm injury, just as he confirmed after the fact that his right shoulder bothered him in the second half of 2004. I don't know.

In any case, this trade for Vazquez simply didn't work. Melky Cabrera is who we thought he was, but Michael Dunn has surged for the Braves  Now look at how Arodys Vizcaino, only 19 years old, performed for the Braves' Class A Rome affiliate. Wow.

This could end up backfiring in a big way. Remember, also, that the Yankees hoped to replace Vizcaino with a compensatory draft pick this winter for letting Vazquez go elsewhere as a free agent, but they can't possibly offer Vazquez arbitration out of the fear he'd accept.

At least the Yankees got Boone Logan out of it. But that shouldn't be much consolation.

--Carlos Beltran is done for the year, but he feels optimistic about his right knee. The Mets already have sent out strong messages to industry folks that they'd like to trade Beltran this winter, but you have to wonder whether that will change with new baseball operations people coming in. 

If the Mets are determined enough to trade Beltran, however, they can succeed by letting other teams know they are willing to eat a significant chunk of the $18.5 million he is owed. About half of that, my guess, is where teams would start to pay attention at all to such a possibility. And the more the Mets pay, the better package they'll receive in return.

--If you think it's tough being a Mets fan, try supporting the Dodgers, and having to deal with the McCourts' divorce trial. What a train wreck, as the Los Angeles Times' T.J. Simers writes here. If this actually lingers into the offseason, then Don Mattingly isn't going to have it easy. The McCourts absolutely have to sell the team.

I found those two McCourt links on Twitter. I'd hope that the McCourts would agree, at least,  that Twitter rocks.

--Have a great day.

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