Clarke Schmidt faces ‘sticky’ pressure in high-stakes Yankees vs. Orioles showdown

Clarke Schmidt. the starter for the New York Yankees starter in 2023.

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With a sticky-substance episode to his back and a big game-winning responsibility on his shoulders, Clarke Schmidt is getting ready for the final Yankees vs. Orioles showdown.

The incident involving Clarke Schmidt and a potential ejection in Cincinnati last week played out in a favorable manner. But he remains an unfavorable target. The Yankees starter explained that “air quality” and humidity can make rosin stickier. It could also be changed by the amount of sweat on the skin. Sometimes, the rosin becomes very sticky while other times it remains dry.

Clarke Schmidt, however, has faith in the umpires. He recognizes the reasons behind their thorough and frequent checks this season.

Clarke Schmidt is cautious

After a five-day gap since his previous start, Clarke Schmidt doesn’t anticipate any lingering effects from his outing on Thursday. However, he also expressed his desire to avoid a repeat of the incident, considering the Yankees’ inability to afford the potential loss of another starting pitcher following Domingo German’s suspension due to the use of prohibited substances.

Prior to the Yankees vs. Orioles Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, Clarke Schmidt told that the recent incident couldn’t force any psychological impact on him. However, he emphasized the importance of not jeopardizing the team’s performance. The Yankees starter mentioned the need to be cautious and attentive to all aspects of the game, highlighting the significance of avoiding such minor issues, particularly when the team is already dealing with a shortage of pitchers.

With a season that has produced mixed results and a 6.00 ERA, Clarke Schmidt’s margin for error has become narrower as the Yankees’ rotation approaches full strength.

Clarke Schmidt’s place on rotation at risk

As Carlos Rodon’s return approaches, Clarke Schmidt’s position in the rotation may be at risk as the competition will turn tougher. The Yankees starter expressed his preference to remain in the starting rotation and not be moved back to the bullpen. However, if there are no other alternatives, he hopes that another opportunity in a relief role will become available.

Clarke Schmidt is open to returning to a relief role if that is what the team wants. However, his current focus is on getting regular starts, delivering quality performances, and making progress with each outing. He emphasized on his willingness to adapt to different roles, whether in the rotation or other positions as required by the team.

“If they want me to go back to that role, then obviously I’ll be willing to go back to that role,” Schmidt told The Post. “But for right now, it’s just continuing to get the starts in and continuing to put quality starts together and continuing to get better every single time out.

According to Clarke Schmidt, he had an “adjustment period” this season as a result of his previous bullpen experience in 2022, where he made 26 appearances. He realized the need to alter his approach to attacking hitters, as it differed from the mindset of a reliever.

Clarke Schmidt exemplifies the Yankees bullpen problem in ALDS
Corey Sipkin

Uncertainty is a motivational factor

The long-term uncertainty surrounding Clarke Schmidt’s situation adds significance to every game he pitches. The ongoing sticky-stuff controversy injects a sense of immediate drama into the mix.

The Yankees starter mentioned that his mechanics have been in a favorable state and that he has been successfully incorporating his cutter into his pitching repertoire. Clarke Schmidt described the process of integrating the cutter as akin to “getting a new car” during spring training.

However, Clarke Schmidt admitted that there was initial uncertainty regarding how to effectively utilize the cutter in his pitching repertoire. He acknowledged that during the early part of the season, they may have been using it incorrectly or not integrating it properly into his pitch selection.

Following a challenging performance against the Rays on May 14, where he gave up seven runs in four and two-thirds innings, Clarke Schmidt bounced back in his recent outing in Cincinnati, allowing only two runs in five innings.

While it remains uncertain if the improvement will continue throughout the entire season or secure him a fixed spot in the rotation, it undeniably represents a step forward for Clarke Schmidt.

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