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The Rays, Oliver Perez and Larry Bowa - and there's a live chat today

Mets pitcher Oliver Perez reacts while pitching in

Mets pitcher Oliver Perez reacts while pitching in relief against the Diamondbacks at CitiField, Sunday. (August 1, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

Live chat starts at 11. Book giveaway contest during the afternoon. And then right back at Yankee Stadium tonight, for "A-Rod tries to hit number 600, Part XII."

So, in the interest of time, just some quick hits this morning:

--Off the Yankees game, I wrote about the Rays, and particularly the irony that their one trade-deadline acquisition, Chad Qualls, outperformed the Yankees' new trio of Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood.

I can't decide what would be more fun to cover: A Yankees-Rays ALCS, or Yankees-Rangers. I'll go with Yankees-Rays, because the Rays do have more overall talent than Texas, IMO, and there's the subplot of the Tampa Bay area sort of being the Yankees' home away from home.

(Sorry, White Sox and Twins.)

Read Erik Boland's game story, and you'll see some delightfully honest quotes from Berkman about what it's like to switch to the Yankees on the fly after spending his entire career with the Astros. He admitted being thrown off by even the smallest details, like, "Where and what time do we drop off our luggage on getaway day?"

We'll see if he steps it up from his shaky first two days; for starters, I don't think we'll be seeing him play first base again anytime soon. His track record says he'll absolutely play better. But his words exemplify why a trade isn't as simple as plugging in Piece A to Outlet B. There are human beings involved here, and there's going to be some external factors in play. And sometimes, it can take time for guys to get comfortable, and sometimes, guys never get comfortable.

Just sayin'.

--The Mets got crushed by Arizona, and seriously, enough already on Oliver Perez. I know we're talking about roughly $16 million, a huge amount of money, but it really isn't fair to the other 24 guys to keep carrying Ollie. In the wake of not doing anything for the trade deadline - a decision I think is not awful, but which has enraged many of their fans - the team could win back some credibility by releasing Perez.

And seriously, it's a sunk cost. How can they realistically think there's anything left there?

--Entertaining column by T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times on Dodgers coach Larry Bowa. This is why Bowa has found his calling the last few years as a coach. Not even Ozzie Guillen can get away with making such critical comments about his players, as the team's manager. But as the bad cop to Joe Torre's good cop, Bowa can go rip city with virtually no ramifications.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Torre and Bowa depart L.A. together after this year and resurface with the Cubs, where Bowa is popular from his playing days.

As for the Dodgers, they have endured an absolutely brutal schedule since the All-Star break: All 17 of their games have come against winning teams. And now the Padres come to Dodger Stadium for a four-game set, in what looks to be a make-or-break type series, just like Mets-Braves and, this coming weekend, Red Sox-Yankees.

--See you at 11.

New York Sports