That's right, live chat at noon. Will Richie G. defend his Live Chat MVP crown? Will Poppy fire off some zingers? Will this finally be the week of glory for No Pepper Games? You won't know, and you certainly won't win, unless you stop by.
--Three teams clinched last night, and FWIW, I forgot to pay proper respects to the Phillies yesterday, after they clinched Monday night. The Phillies are, of course, overwhelming favorites to represent the National League in the World Series for a third straight year.
But anyway, at the Yankees game, I wrote about CC Sabathia, who has been a ridiculously good acquisition for the Yankees for two years now. Five years (plus one impending postseason) to go, and so much can happen. At this juncture, however, Sabathia - the game's highest-paid pitcher - seems like a bargain. Especially compared to the second-highest-paid pitcher, the Mets' Johan Santana, who has seen two straight seasons cut short by arm surgeries and who has major rehabilitation and questions ahead of him, not to mention an ugly civil suit.
Following the game, Joe Girardi made it pretty clear that, while the Yankees theoretically want to win the AL East, they're going to heavily prioritize resting their regular position players and lining up their pitching. That's absolutely the right call. Being a wild-card, if that's how it winds up, wouldn't faze the Yankees.
Meanwhile, Mariano Rivera recorded the final two outs - the first one loud (a Vernon Wells line drive to Brett Gardner in leftfield), the second one less so (a Lyle Overbay grounder to Alex Rodriguez at third). I'd guess we'll see Rivera either once or twice more before the playoffs. He'll be one of the most interesting pitchers to monitor. Well, at least until he winds up producing his typically ridiculous October/November.
--The Rays also clinched a playoff spot, which means the Red Sox are done. And most interesting, the Rays are giving away 20,000 free tickets to tonight's regular-season home finale. That's great, and team president Matt Silverman gets honesty points for admitting the move resulted from David Price's and Evan Longoria's critical remarks about the low attendance Monday.
I received some heat on Twitter for voicing my opinion about Price's comments, and to be clear, I think the Rays are a wonderful baseball organization. They absolutely deserve to play in front of full houses. But the onus doesn't fall on potential customers to make that happen. It falls on the team. As we said yesterday, if that means moving, then so be it.
--Congrats to the Reds for wrapping up the NL Central. I don't see them being much of a playoff threat, but I'm very happy for their fans, who have waited 15 long years for another trip to the postseason.
--A walkoff Mets victory was overshadowed by Carlos Beltran's early departure, due to pain in his surgicaly repaired right knee. And so today becomes a critical day for the Mets, and for their new front-office leadership that hasn't yet arrived. If Beltran has experienced a serious setback, then that sets back the Mets' plans, whether they ultimately were going to keep him or trade him.
If he's OK? Then that's good news for the Mets, but expect any interested team to insist on a thorough physical examination before trading for him.
--Great piece by Tim Brown of Yahoo! about Ron Washington, who reflects on his cocaine usage and its ramifications.
--All right, see you at noon.