Schmidt and Boone expose Yankees in post-game remarks

Pitcher Clarke Schmidt and Yankees manager Aaron Boone were talking to reporters after their 11-3 defeat in Atlanta on Aug 14, 2023.

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ATLANTA — Yankees’ Clarke Schmidt ended up with a game to forget in Atlanta on Monday. Despite the Braves spoiling his first homecoming as a starter, the right-hander has all praise for the opponents. He was clear in his assessment about what makes the Braves far superior to the Yankees. His assessment found echoes in Aaron Boone’s reckoning.

Schmidt observed that the Braves didn’t easily surrender and that they drew strength from one another. The Yankees starter pointed out that when the lower part of their batting order gained momentum, it positively influenced the performance of the top order as well by feeding each other.

“I don’t know if it’s them being hot right now or just a combination of it all, but they have really good approaches and really good bat-to-ball skills,” he said. “They don’t give in and they kind of feed off each other, too. Once the bottom of the order gets going, the top of it feeds off of it as well.” 

Yankees’ starter tumbled before the Braves

Schmidt, who has been among the Yankees’ prominent starting pitchers for the past three months, struggled to complete even three innings against the Braves on Monday. The Braves launched a relentless offensive assault on him from the early stages, repeating their trend of overpowering New York teams. This time, it resulted in an 11-3 victory over the Yankees, following their impressive accumulation of 40 runs against the Mets during the weekend series in Queens.

Earlier, Schmidt had encountered the formidable Rangers lineups on two occasions and a strong Orioles lineup four times. However, neither of these experiences can be equated to the challenging trial the Yankees starter underwent on Monday night against the Braves.

The Yankees‘ right-hander believed the Braves surpassed those teams by a significant margin. He mentioned that he wasn’t certain if their performance was due to their current streak of success or a culmination of various factors. He noted their impressive strategies at the plate and their skill in making contact with the ball make them reign with supremacy in MLB.

“They were far and above beyond those teams I think,” Schmidt admitted while speaking to reporters at Truist Park.

AP

He had a performance that substantiated his analysis. Schmidt conceded an unprecedented total of eight earned runs, stemming from nine hits, during a span of 2 ¹/₃ innings. This performance placed the Yankees at a substantial disadvantage early on, and they were unable to make significant progress in narrowing the gap. In the initial inning, he surrendered a solo home run to Austin Riley, and in the subsequent inning, he allowed three additional runs, all with two outs.

The situation unraveled completely during the third inning, leading to the conclusion of his streak of containing the opposing team to three earned runs or less, which had spanned over 14 consecutive starts. Following consecutive hits that produced runs from Eddie Rosario, Orlando Arcia, and Nicky Lopez in the third inning, his outing concluded after reaching a pitch count of 68.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone remarked that Schmidt faced challenges in certain counts and was unable to effectively finish off the opposing batters. Boone noted that Schmidt was close to escaping the second inning without any damage, but the opposing team managed to compile successful at-bats against him. As the game progressed, Boone mentioned that Schmidt’s fatigue became apparent, particularly during the third inning.

Out of the Braves’ total of nine hits, six occurred while Schmidt was in a favorable position with the count in his favor. However, this advantageous situation did not prove beneficial for the Yankees against the team that holds the highest rank in terms of runs scored in the sport. The Braves exhibited increased resilience as the count progressed further.

Schmidt felt satisfied with his pitching repertoire and overall execution. He acknowledged that there were a few instances where he wished he could redo certain two-strike pitches. The Yankees starter further mentioned that occasionally, challenges on the field forced one to “get the ass beat a little bit.” He also urged to acknowledge and respect the skill of the opponents in baseball.

Boone agrees to Schmidt’s assessment

MLB

The Yankees manager also agreed to the assessment of Schmidt about the Braves. Boone told:

“Right now, they’re the class of the league, clearly,” Boone said. “That’s where you want to be. They’re obviously putting together a pretty great season and have been now for the last several years in the National League. (They) have a lineup that’s really, really rugged and balanced. A little peek into where you’re trying to get to.”

In Monday’s victory, the Braves’ 7-8-9 batters collectively recorded a notable performance, going 7-for-14, including a double, a home run, and accumulating eight RBIs. Prior to the game, Atlanta possessed the most impressive OPS among all teams for the bottom third of their batting order. In contrast, New York held the distinction of having the seventh-lowest OPS and the fifth-lowest on-base percentage from those same three positions in the order.

The primary challenge faced by the Yankees doesn’t solely revolve around the insufficient on-base performance of their 7-8-9 hitters. Rather, this issue is indicative of a broader concern that the team has grappled with, especially in terms of struggling to generate runs. The Yankees’ lineup suffers from a notable lack of variety, which has proven detrimental throughout the season. The team is predominantly composed of players who share similar characteristics — right-handed, power-oriented hitters who adopt an all-or-nothing approach. In contrast, the Braves employ a more diverse strategy. They possess players with speed, adept contact hitters, power hitters, and those who excel at hitting in the gaps. As noted by Yankees manager Aaron Boone prior to the game, the Braves appear to lack any significant weaknesses in their lineup.

Contrary to this situation, the Yankees face vulnerabilities throughout their lineup. Their order includes five players whose OPS falls below .700. Attempting to measure up evenly against a team like the Braves becomes an arduous task when over half of the lineup possesses an OPS under .700. With the Braves surging ahead 4-2 by the conclusion of the second inning, the game took on a sense of being somewhat beyond their control. As the third inning concluded, the score escalated to 8-2, effectively sealing the outcome of the game.

Boone acknowledged that the Braves have consistently performed at a high level in the National League over the past few years. He further highlighted the strength and equilibrium of their lineup, which serves as an example of the direction the Yankees aim to progress toward.

Yankees must learn from Braves

In the past, Boone had mentioned that many teams had narrowed the difference with the Yankees, following their elimination in the wild-card round. Currently, he is suggesting that another team has gone beyond the Yankees to an extent where the Yankees should contemplate adopting certain aspects of their approach. It’s not a matter of the Braves simply overtaking the Yankees; rather, they have excelled well beyond them in almost every aspect of constructing a well-rounded offense.

Boone’s mention of the necessity for a balanced lineup in the Yankees’ improvement is intriguing, given the contrast with the approach taken by general manager Brian Cashman when forming the roster at the beginning of the season. The Yankees currently rank third-lowest in terms of plate appearances from left-handed hitters this season. Were it not for the inclusion of left-handed substitutes like Jake Bauers, Billy McKinney, and Franchy Cordero due to injuries, the absence of a left-handed presence would be even more evident. The Yankees’ issue isn’t solely about the absence of left-handed batters in the lineup. The deficiency of players adept at making contact with the ball, as Schmidt pointed out in relation to the Braves lineup, has been a noticeable concern throughout the entire season.

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AP Photo

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who faced difficulties last season, has risen to prominence as a crucial element in the lineup due to his knack for exploiting gaps in the opposing defense, particularly during critical situations. In the Yankees’ loss on Monday, Kiner-Falefa managed a 3-for-4 performance, standing out as one of the few positives. Notably, he stands alone among the Yankees with a batting average exceeding .300 when runners are in scoring position this season. Following Monday’s game, Kiner-Falefa departed with a sense of admiration for Atlanta’s offensive prowess.

Kiner-Falefa commented that he believed the Braves displayed aggressiveness within the strike zone and had a knack for delivering crucial hits. He noted that their ability to secure an early home run and subsequently build a substantial lead demonstrated their proficiency in achieving singles during significant moments and advancing their offensive efforts.

Relying solely on singles and advancing bases is seldom sufficient to secure victories at an elite level. Therefore, constructing a team primarily composed of contact hitters won’t automatically confer championship-level status upon the Yankees. Nevertheless, the ability to triumph using various strategies holds significance for achieving high-level success. Notably, the Braves lead the league in home runs, a primary avenue to amass victories. Additionally, their lineup is sufficiently diverse, enabling them to generate runs even when home runs are not abundant. This was demonstrated on Monday. Unfortunately, the Yankees have seldom demonstrated such adaptability throughout the current season.

Boone’s straightforwardness regarding his observation on lineup balance should prompt discussions within the Yankees’ front office. The team has grappled with this significant issue for numerous years, which has played a pivotal role in their recurring playoff eliminations. While this concern is likely to be inconsequential for the current season, given the evident trajectory toward a disappointing outcome, it’s prudent to initiate preparations for the upcoming 2024 season. Enhancing the lineup’s equilibrium should be a paramount consideration during this off-season’s planning.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Schmidt and Boone expose Yankees in post-game remarks

  1. Yanks lineup is constructed exactly the way Cashman wanted it. He wanted “big hairy guys” that hit HRs and that is what he got. He has been very stubborn on this over the years.
    The only way to change this philosophy is to fire Cashman but that is not gonna happen.

  2. Big home run hitters are what the Yankees were always built on! The winning teams have HR hitters too but they also have contact hitters hunters and base stealers. Small ball winds games

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