Shoddy defense, errors nearly cost Yankees their win over Guardians

New York Yankees' pitcher Shane Bieber at Yankee Stadium on May 3, 2023.

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Amidst the rain at Yankee Stadium, the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Guardians battled it out for 10 innings, with the Yankees ultimately emerging victorious with a score of 4-3. This victory secured a 2-1 win for the Yankees in the three-game series.

The game seemed like it was going to end on a sour note, leaving the Yankees frustrated. However, it turned out to be a game that could provide the Yankees with the necessary energy to move forward. In the end, a pinch-hit single by Jose Trevino in the tenth inning secured the victory for the New York Yankees. This win came after a rough start with poor defense in the first inning, a controversial pitching change in the ninth inning, and injuries to two players that ended the game.

Yankees’ poor defensive play

The Yankees found themselves trailing early in the game due to poor defensive play in the top of the first inning. Clarke Schmidt allowed a single to Steven Kwan to lead off the inning, but he managed to induce a ground ball from Amed Rosario that appeared to be a double play ball. Unfortunately, Gleyber Torres threw the ball too high, resulting in Rosario being safe at first base despite Kwan being forced out. Anthony Rizzo also contributed to the defensive struggles, committing an error that made things even worse for the Yankees. Rizzo attempted to catch the ball, but he dropped it out of his glove, allowing Jose Ramirez to reach base safely.

These two errors led to two unearned runs being scored. Schmidt struck out Josh Naylor for the second out, but the Guardians quickly took the lead thanks to RBI singles from Josh Bell and Andres Gimenez.

Schmidt’s pitch count increased as a result of the additional outs. Since he was able to work his way out of jams over the next few innings, he only needed to throw 79 pitches over 4.1 full frames. Despite allowing six hits and two walks, he did not allow any further runs and struck out four batters. Despite his previous struggles, Schmidt did not receive a decision in this game.

The Yankees held off two Guardians’ comeback attempts to keep themselves in the game. In the bottom of the second inning, Schmidt allowed singles to Myles Straw and Kwan, putting runners at the corners with one out. But Schmidt didn’t lose his composure and got out of the jam by striking out Rosario and getting Ramirez to fly out. In the third inning, after Schmidt had walked Naylor and Bell, he got Gimenez to smash into a double play. He then got Will Brennan to line out to center, which left Bell at third.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees had a great chance to take the lead, but they didn’t take it. Isiah Kiner-Falefa started the game with a single, stole second base right away, and moved to third when Kyle Higashioka hit a fly ball. But when the infielders moved in for a play at the plate, Anthony Volpe hit a ground ball to Ramirez, who threw out Kiner-Falefa at home. Bieber’s disengagement violation put Volpe in a scoring position, but Torres’ fly out to center for the third out put him out of the game.

Aaron Boone’s misstep

Oscar Gonzalez drove a ball into “no man’s land” in the short center after Straw hit a double, but Harrison Bader seemed to have a chance to catch it. Then, at the very last second, IKF swooped into the scene like a bat out of hell to collide with Bader. Bader exited the game when the ball went straight between them, allowing the run to score and giving the Guardians the lead. Fans shouldn’t get their hopes up too high just yet, despite Bader’s return from the injured list on Tuesday.

The ninth inning was a nightmare for the Yankees. The Yankees’ manager, Aaron Boone, took a highly questionable pitching chance by switching pitchers after Marinaccio retired the first two batters he faced. Since Clay Holmes was having a terrible season and had already lost the first game of the series on Monday, he was substituted in for Marinaccio. Straw responded with a center bloop. Kiner-Falefa, making his maiden appearance in left field, failed to make a diving grab, allowing Straw to score a double thanks to his hustling. Oscar Gonzalez, up next, blooped a single to center field. Straw scored to put Cleveland up 3-2, and both Harrison Bader and Kiner-Falefa tried to prevent it but failed. When Bader dove for the ball, Kiner-Falefa accidentally kneed him in the head. As a result, Bader had to be taken out of the game. On Tuesday, Bader had participated in his first game of the season. On Wednesday, he was injured. Left fielder Oswaldo Cabrera replaced him, while center fielder Kiner-Falefa switched positions.

After Bieber pitched eight strong innings, the Guardians sent up all-star closer Emmanuel Clase to save the last out after Holmes had retired Kwan. Although Rizzo contributed with a crucial single, the Yankees were once again struck by the injury bug. Rizzo was replaced by Oswald Peraza, but he hurt his ankle trying to steal second base and had to leave the game. Since Aaron Hicks was called up to replace Peraza on the bench, Yankees fans were already frustrated by the team’s lack of depth after a month of the season marred by injuries.

Fortunately, the Yankees managed to even the score in the ninth inning and went on to win the game in the tenth thanks to a game-winning RBI single by Jose Trevino. Although the Guardians lost the series against the Yankees due to their comeback victory, it does not mean that Boone should be let off the hook.

Trevino said and then walked off

Jose Trevino watched the game on Wednesday from the comfort of the trainers’ room, deep within Yankee Stadium’s catacombs, around the sixth inning. The catcher informed the starter, Clarke Schmidt, “I’m going to get a walk-off in this one.” He knew he would be needed later in the game.

Schmidt was familiar with Trevino’s game-winning celebrations from the previous season, and he was about to witness another one. Trevino came off the bench to deliver a clutch hit against Trevor Stephan, leading the Yankees to a 4-3 extra-inning victory over the Guardians at Yankee Stadium.

Trevino expressed his appreciation, saying that it was great to see the true Yankees fans sticking around through it all while waving his arms wildly in front of the first-base dugout.

Trevino’s game-winning single gave the Yankees their third straight walk-off victory. Newly promoted players Willie Calhoun and Jake Bauers performed well, while veterans Harrison Bader and Oswald Peraza provided some tense moments.

As Clay Holmes failed for the second time in the series after taking over for Ron Marinaccio in the ninth inning with two outs and no one on, Cleveland took the lead for a short while. Marinaccio had gotten all five hitters out, but Yankees manager Aaron Boone was hesitant to use him anymore because he had already used him on Tuesday.

“Look, I understand with Clay, there’s been a couple of outings,” Boone said. “Obviously, we’ve got to get him to the Clay we know, but he’s a lot closer to that than the noise.”

Calhoun came through in the clutch in the bottom of the ninth. When hard-throwing closer Emmanuel Clase faced off against Anthony Rizzo, Rizzo hit a single and Peraza came in to steal second. But Peraza sprained his right ankle while running the bases, so he’ll have to have an X-ray.

Calhoun hit a single to left that tied the game, allowing Aaron Hicks to score from second base. Calhoun described his recent success as “like a dream.”

“I’ve always believed in my ability to hit the ball, and I’ve always been able to be a threat in the batter’s box,” Calhoun said. “The last few years, I’ve been banged up and wasn’t able to be fully capable of that. Going into this spring, I just tried to make sure I stayed healthy to go out there and give it my best shot.”

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