The Yankees finished the 1st half of the season (numerically speaking, anyway) by going down to St. Petersburg to play the Tampa Bay Rays in Major League Baseball's most ridiculous venue, Tropicana "Field."
The Monday night game was a disgrace. Well, okay, it wouldn't have mattered if the Yankees had won 30-0, it was played at the Trop, therefore it would still have been a disgrace.
Freddy Garcia, taking the injured Andy Pettitte's spot in the rotation -- fitting, I suppose, since Andy took the then-ineffective Freddy's spot -- pitched into the 6th inning, giving up just 2 runs, home runs by B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena. That should have been enough for the Yankee bats to overcome.
It wasn't. Not because the Yankees couldn't score 3 runs off Rays starter Matt Moore, but because 2012 Boone Logan turned back into 2011 Boone Logan, and 2012 David Robertson turned back into 2010 David Robertson. They let in the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the 7th.
Rays 4, Yankees 3. WP: Moore (5-5). SV: Fernando Rodney (23). LP: Robertson (0-3).
On Tuesday night, things went from bad to worse. Ivan Nova was undone by his defense. Russell Martin, already struggling at the plate like we wouldn't believe, made 2 errors that led to runs. The Yankees blew leads of 3-0 and 4-3, en route to a 7-4 loss.
WP: James Shields (8-5). SV: Rodney (24). LP: Nova (9-3).
Then yesterday, the 4th of July -- and there is something so wrong about a 4th of July game played indoors -- the Yankees knew that David Phelps had a pitch limit, as he's being worked back from relief to replacement-starter status. He was relieved in the 5th inning, having held the Rays to 1 run on 4 hits (albeit also 3 walks). And 8 of his 13 outs were strikeouts.
Logan allowed 2 more runs in the 7th, and in spite of Mark Teixeira's 14th home run in the top of the inning, it looked like it would be a sweep, and the Yankees' 10th straight loss in that stupid dome. It was 3-1 Rays and it wasn't looking good.
Then Rays manager Joe Maddon did something stupid. More stupid than playing in the Trop. More stupid even than wearing that fake ripoff-of-the-late-Seventies San Diego Padres "fauxback" uniform the other day.
After 7 strong innings by David Price, Maddon did the worst thing a baseball manager could do when his team has the lead.
He brought in... this guy.
That's right, Kyle Farnsworth. Ruiner of several Yankee games in 2006, '07 and '08. And, lest we forget, the pitcher who was on the mound for much of the Chicago Cubs' 2003 Playoff meltdown, in what became known as the Steve Bartman game.
In the immortal words of football legend Chuck Bednarik, this fuckin' game was OVER!
Eric Chavez led off the top of the 8th, and Kerosene Kyle walked him. He struck out Derek Jeter, but he walked Curtis Granderson. Then he walked Teix to load the bases.
Up stepped Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod the anti-clutch vs. Kyle Not a Darn's Worth. Something had to give.
Oh well, A-Rod should have burned off that label in 2009, right? Farnsworth walked him. Rays 3, Yankees 2.
Maddon realized his mistake, pulled Kerosene, and replaced him with Jake McGee.
Robinson Cano singled home Grandy and Teix. Yankees 4, Rays 3.
That was the final. WP: Logan (somehow, 3-0). SV: Rafael Soriano (the man the Rays let go so Farnsworth could be their closer, his 19th save of this season). LP: Farnsworth (0-1).
During that 8th inning, there was a lot of cheering at the Trop. And, eventually, a "Let's go Yankees!" chant.
At the Trop.
Attendance for the 3 games: 21,742, 26,453, and 28,033. Average, 25,409. Total: 76,228 -- or, as the Red Sox call it, 2 home games. Or, as the Yankees call it, a game and a half.
Rays fans, what few of you there are, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
Speaking of the Red Sox, the Yankees have the day off, and then go up to Boston to face the old enemy.
Friday night, 7:10 PM: Hiroki Kuroda vs. Josh Beckett.
Saturday afternoon, 12:35 PM, makeup of an earlier rainout: Phil Hughes vs. Franklin Morales, a recent replacement in the Sox rotation.
Saturday night, 7:15 PM: Freddy Garcia vs. Felix Dubront.
Sunday night, the 8:05 PM ESPN game: Ivan Nova vs. Jon Lester.
This concludes the 1st half of the season, schedule-wise. Where does the time go?
Come on you Bronx Bombers! Beat The Scum!
Speaking of said Scum, last night, David Ortiz hit his 400th career home run.
He now has 42 more home runs than Yogi Berra, 41 more than Johnny Mize, 39 more than Joe DiMaggio, 31 more than Ralph Kiner, 30 more than Gil Hodges, 26 more than Rocky Colavito, 24 more than Carlton Fisk, 21 more than Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez, 18 more than Frank Howard and Jim Rice, 17 more than Larry Walker, 16 more than Harold Baines, 15 more than Dwight Evans, 11 more than Johnny Bench, 10 more than Graig Nettles, 7 more than Jim Edmonds, 4 more than Joe Carter, 2 more than Dale Murphy, 1 more than Al Kaline, and 7 less than Duke Snider.
As far as I know, none of those men used steroids.
Going into this Scum series, Alex Rodriguez, who did use steroids while a Texas Ranger, has 642 home runs, 1,929 runs batted in, and 2,852 hits. Derek Jeter has 3,191 hits.
At the halfway mark, the Yankees are 49-32, in 1st place in the American League Eastern Division. The Baltimore Orioles are 5 back, the Rays 6 1/2 back (7 in the loss column), the Sox and Toronto Blue Jays both 7 1/2 back (8).
Elimination numbers: Scum and Jays 73, Rays 74, O's 76.