Oswaldo Cabrera salvages Schmidt’s win that Yankees nearly wasted

Oswaldo Cabrera and Clarke Schmidt help the Yankees win doubleheader Game 1 vs. the Guardians in Cleveland on April 13, 2024.
Michael Bennington
Sunday April 14, 2024

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Moving toward a shutout, Clarke Schmidt delivered an impressive performance on the mound. Meanwhile, Oswaldo Cabrera came through in the clutch once more with a pivotal home run that shifted the game’s momentum. Despite offensive struggles and a defensive hiccup, the Yankees managed to secure a hard-fought 3-2 victory at Progressive Field.

Oswaldo Cabrera made a significant impact in the sixth inning of Game 1, his two-run homer off right-hander Nick Sandlin proving pivotal as it silenced the Guardians’ offense and gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Despite Schmidt’s five walks, the pitching staff, led by Schmidt himself, managed to hold Cleveland close, preserving the lead for a tense, nail-biting victory.

Despite issuing five walks, Schmidt effectively contained the Cleveland offense, allowing just two runs (one earned) and striking out seven batters over five innings. This performance earned him his first win of the season.

Schmidt reflected positively on his performance, describing it as a solid outing. He acknowledged the difficulties he encountered, noting that it was a bit of a struggle. Despite this, he emphasized his overall satisfaction and optimistic outlook, expressing contentment with his progress and a strong determination to continue getting better.

The Yankees pitcher dominated the Cleveland lineup early on, utilizing his sharp cutter and biting knuckle-curve to hold them hitless and scoreless through the first five innings. However, his performance took a turn in the sixth inning. He exited the game with the bases loaded and no outs, leaving a precarious 3-0 lead for the bullpen to protect.

Yankees reliever Caleb Ferguson entered a high-pressure situation. With the bases loaded and one out, he induced a potential game-changing double play ball off Tyler Freeman’s bat. Unfortunately, disaster struck when Gleyber Torres’ throw from second base sailed over the first baseman’s head, allowing Cleveland to score two runs and narrow the Yankees’ lead.

Regrettably, Torres’ error prevented Schmidt from achieving his first shutout since late May, ending a streak of 24 consecutive appearances without being used in relief.

oswaldo-cabrera-clarke-schmidt-new-york-yankees
AP

Despite this setback, Schmidt’s performance was notably commendable given the difficulty of the situation. Cleveland assembled a lineup predominantly composed of left-handed hitters, a group that had historically batted .298 against Schmidt over his career.

Manager Aaron Boone gave a favorable evaluation of Schmidt’s performance. He emphasized the potency of Schmidt’s pitches, pointing out that they were generating strikeouts from hitters who typically avoid striking out. Boone attributed this success to the overall quality of Schmidt’s pitching repertoire. While recognizing the overall achievement, Boone expressed a desire for Schmidt to navigate through the sixth inning without allowing any runs.

Oswaldo Cabrera saves the day for Yankees

Oswaldo Cabrera’s bat was the game-changer for the Yankees, delivering a decisive blow. His timely two-run homer in the sixth inning off reliever Nick Sandlin broke the scoreless tie and propelled them to a 3-0 lead. Notably, Oswaldo Cabrera had just attempted a bunt on the previous pitches, demonstrating his adaptability at the plate.

The switch-hitter, known for his stronger performance from the left side, returned to the lineup for Game 1 of the doubleheader against Cleveland’s right-handed starter, Carlos Carrasco. Oswaldo Cabrera’s heroics in the sixth inning provided the Yankees with a crucial cushion, ultimately leading them to a narrow 3-2 victory in front of nearly 18,000 fans at Progressive Field.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Yankees enjoyed an 8-2 victory, fueled by Juan Soto‘s powerful three-run homer and another RBI from the in-form Oswaldo Cabrera. This triumph occurred in front of a considerably larger crowd of over 31,000 fans at Progressive Field.

Oswaldo Cabrera, currently one of the Yankees’ most formidable hitters, found himself sidelined during the previous series against the Marlins due to their lineup of left-handed starting pitchers. Jon Berti filled in at third base for those games. Now, he appears determined to avoid extended periods on the bench like that in the future.

Manager Boone commended Oswaldo Cabrera’s consistent preparedness, noting, “He’s always focused and ready. This was just another clutch performance from him in a winning game.”

Oswaldo Cabrera’s significant hit further enhanced his impressive start. He has already hit three home runs this season, exceeding last year’s total of five across 115 games. It’s worth noting that after his game-tying heroics in the season opener against Houston, Oswaldo Cabrera was sidelined until today’s game.

Despite Oswaldo Cabrera’s standout performance, the Yankees’ offense faltered for the majority of the game. In the second inning, they had a prime opportunity with the bases loaded and no outs, but could only muster a single run on a Trent Grisham double play.

Oswaldo Cabrera, player of the new york yankees
Yankees

Schmidt recognized the importance of winning the first game, noting that it puts the series in a favorable position.

Oswaldo Cabrera had a productive day at the plate, tallying two hits in five at-bats along with a walk and an RBI double. He currently boasts a hot batting average of .317 with an impressive OPS of .963, having already hit three home runs in just 11 games.

With the news of Jon Berti being placed on the injured list due to a left groin strain after Game 1, Oswaldo Cabrera appears ready to solidify his role as the starting third baseman, at least until DJ LeMahieu returns from injury.

Oswaldo Cabrera expressed disappointment regarding Berti’s injury, recognizing his importance to the team. However, he emphasized his own readiness and assured that he would be prepared whenever called upon.

The Yankees and Guardians entered the battle holding the top two records in the American League as of Saturday.

The Yankees emerged victorious, improving their road record to an impressive 7-1 and their overall record to a stellar 11-3. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s record dropped to 9-4. They have reached a milestone, tying their franchise record for the best start through 15 games. This achievement, previously accomplished seven times, had not been matched since 2003.

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