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Halfway home

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Tonight’s game will be mid-point of the Yankees nine-game West Coast trip. When this trip started, the individual names stood out. The Yankees were scheduled to face some of the very best starting pitchers in the game, and that was impossible to ignore, but Joe Girardi seemed to focus on the big picture rather than the specific names.

“Recently, we’ve done pretty good on the West Coast,” Girardi said before that first game in Seattle. “You’re probably not going to see as many high-scoring games. Execution becomes very important. You can’t give them extra base runners. Your execution — moving guys over, getting a guy in with runners in scoring position — it becomes really important in these parks.”

Four games down and five to go, the opposing starters really haven’t been the deciding factor at this point, but execution has been key.

When the Yankees beat Trevor Cahill yesterday, it was by taking advantage of some first-inning mistakes, cashing in on a handful of late-inning opportunities, and getting a walk-free start from Bartolo Colon. When the Yankees beat the Mariners on Sunday, it was with one game-changing, two-out burst of efficiency. In the two wins, the Yankees pitching staff allowed a total of three free base runners, all of them CC Sabathia walks that were left stranded.

In the two losses, the Yankees were a combined 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position, and they also walked 11 batters, hit two batters and threw two wild pitches.

“After losing two tough games, you come out and win two games in a row against tough pitching, I think it does a lot,” Girardi said. “And then you try to carry that into tomorrow.”

Associated Press photo