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Despite Their Best Efforts, the Yankees (Sort of) Remain in the A.L. East Race

For a game that didn't feel like it mattered very much — after all, the Champagne had already flowed the night before, and Joe Girardi let Javier Vazquez start the damn thing — last night's Yankees game mattered quite a bit. Baltimore had done the Yankees a favor by beating Tampa Bay for the second time in three days, so a Yankees win would have put them back in first place by half a game. But like we said, Javier Vazquez pitched, and that did not happen.

It raises a question, one we'll probably never need to ask again: Is a Vazquez outing like last night's — his line: seven runs on ten hits in four-and-two-thirds innings; the Jays would win 8-4 — any easier to accept when you fully expect it? After all, it had been a while since Vazquez had been used regularly in meaningful situations. And he wouldn't have pitched last night if important players like Andy Pettitte weren't busy preparing for the postseason. So you probably saw this coming. At least A-Rod hit a home run.

Still, despite their best efforts, the Yankees remain in the A.L. East race. The Rays have a game in hand and will play it tonight, though even a loss means the teams enter the final weekend tied, and a tie does the Yankees no good. The Rays will face Zach Greinke when they open their series tonight in Kansas City, and though a division win means facing Cliff Lee in the ALDS, it at least means home-field advantage, and means not having to visit a team that already has 93 wins in the first round. Then again, the Twins have lost five out of six themselves. So starting tonight, we are all Royals fans. Aren't we?

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