Yankees loss gives Rays the AL East title

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The Red Sox came through for the Rays, besting the Yankees in the final two games of a three-game series and giving Tampa Bay the AL East title in the process.
The Rays and Yankees entered the day with identical 95-66 records, but the Rays held the tiebreaker and thus clinched home-field advantage with the Yankees’ loss. The Rays went on to beat the Royals 3-2 in 11 innings, giving them an AL-high 96 victories.
Boston beat the Yankees 8-4 behind John Lackey’s second 10-strikeout game of the season and homers from J.D. Drew and Jed Lowrie. Lowrie went deep twice, giving him a surprising nine homers in 172 at-bats.
The Yankees’ loss settled the playoff picture in the AL. The Bombers will travel to Minnesota as the league’s wild card entry. The Rays will play host to the Rangers.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.