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81 games. The halfway point of the regular season. It sounds cliche, but I really can't believe we're here already. It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago that we were salivating over Pineda and Tanaka's early starts, and in reality it's been almost 3 months since then. The Yankees came into last night's series opener against Tampa 2 games over .500, so there was no way they could finish the first half of the season with a losing record. But when Brian Cashman described them as "fortunate" to be where they are, he hit the nail on the head. This was not a .500 team let alone a team 2 games over .500, and if the Yanks were going to hang around in the playoff race in the 2nd half, they needed to start playing better and soon.
- For whatever reason, David Phelps appears to be incapable of not grooving fastballs over the heart of the plate. The first one he threw last night turned into a Matt Joyce solo HR in the 1st and the second was another dinger off the bat of Kevin Kiermaier in the 3rd.
- Chris Archer made a mistake hitting Ichiro to lead off the bottom of the 3rd and it bit him when Brett Gardner laced a triple down the right field line to score 1 run and came in on Derek Jeter's groundout to tie the game.
- Phelps put up a couple zeros after the early long ball problems, but in typical Phelps fashion he was hardly a model of efficiency. He had to battle to finish off hitters, he threw a lot of pitches (101), and he was done with 2 outs in the 6th.
- Joe went to Adam Warren to finish off that inning, which he did in short order. The 7th was a different story, when he lost his command and loaded the bases on a hit and 2 walks. 2 more walks by Dellin Betances in the 8th came back to haunt on a 2-out go-ahead single by Ryan Hanigan.
- Wasn't much doing for the Yanks post-3rd inning. They stranded 2 runners in the 6th and in the 8th when Brandon Guyer botched a Brian McCann bloop to put runners on the corners.
- They saved the breakout for the bottom of the 9th, when Brian Roberts won a long 1-out battle with Joel Peralta and golfed a 3-2 pitch into right-center for a game-tying home run. They stranded a leadoff single in the 10th, however, and that was the last chance they'd get.
- Joe was down to his bullpen B-team by the time the 12th inning rolled around. Jose Ramirez got the call then and gave up a walk, stolen base, and RBI single to Logan Forsythe to seal the win for Tampa.
- Roberts: 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 LOB. Gave them a chance with that late homer. Great at-bat too.
- Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-4, 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 LOB. If only 1 of those hits could have brought in a run.
- Betances: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K. Really battled his command last night. That's become more of a common problem over the last few weeks.
- Mark Teixeira: 1-5, 3 K, 4 LOB. He has about 2 of these games a week. That's why his batting average is so low.
Hiroki Kuroda and Yankee trade deadline pipe dream David Price are the scheduled starters for game 2 tonight. Yanks only need Hirok to throw a complete game to rest the bullpen. No pressure.