Yankees’ Clarke Schmidt admits to ‘tipping’ home run ball to Mariners

Yankees' Clarke Schmidt reacts after Dylan Moore of the Mariners hit him for a home run at Yankee Stadium on Mya 21, 2024.

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Clarke Schmidt believed that he inadvertently tipped his fourth-inning cutter to Dylan Moore, the Mariners’ No. 9 hitter, who went on to hit two home runs and drive in four runs in Seattle’s 6-3 victory at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees pitcher revealed after the game that Josh Rojas, who had doubled with one out to become the Mariners’ first baserunner, had relayed his intention to throw a full-count cutter to Moore.

The Yankees pitcher mentioned that he reviewed footage of his pitches between innings and made adjustments to his delivery. Although he wasn’t entirely certain what might have alerted the Mariners, he acknowledged that potential pitch tipping has been a concern for him this season. Clarke Schmidt expressed confidence that if he is indeed tipping his pitches, it’s a correctable issue.

“When you go look at the video,” Clarke Schmidt said, “I think there was relaying the signs a little bit at second base. It was a quality pitch, for sure. Obviously, tipping is a part of this game, and it’s a factor, and it’s always in the back of our heads.”

He acknowledged that tipping pitches is an inherent part of the game and a factor that pitchers are always conscious of and aware of. Clarke Schmidt was coming off a career-best start in Minnesota, where he tossed eight shutout innings and secured his third consecutive win. However, on Tuesday night, he lasted only five innings and was somewhat concerned about his pitch count, which reached 100.

Clarke Schmidt starts well but falls from the cliff

After retiring the first seven Mariners he faced, including four on strikeouts, Clarke Schmidt surrendered a one-out double to Josh Rojas in the third inning. This is where the situation became intriguing. Despite striking out the side on cutters in the second inning, his full-count cutter to Moore, which was slightly off the outer edge, was crushed over the left field wall.

New York Yankees’ Clarke Schmidt pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

When asked about that particular pitch later, Clarke Schmidt implied that he had tipped the cutter enough for Rojas, who was leading off second base, to signal it to Moore, who capitalized on the information. The pitcher credited the Mariners for their ability to detect the tip, but he also mentioned that it was a relatively easy fix. He also felt that Seattle had likely picked up on this tendency by studying his previous starts.

“It’s a credit to (the Mariners) to be able to find it,’’ he said. “ It’s a fairly easy fix,’’ and that Seattle probably picked up on that tendency by watching his previous starts.

The incident highlighted the importance of pitchers being mindful of potential tipping and the impact it can have on the outcome of a game. Despite the setback, Clarke Schmidt remained optimistic about addressing the issue and making the necessary adjustments to prevent opposing teams from exploiting any tells in his delivery.

Clarke Schmidt didn’t express any complaints about the situation, instead simply stating what he believed had transpired, and he took full responsibility for it. He threw a 93.1 mph pitch over the black on the outside of the plate, which Moore drove 386 feet into the left-field seats, giving the Mariners a 2-0 lead.

However, he acknowledged that every pitcher has certain tendencies or patterns in their delivery, such as the way they come set, which can potentially tip off their pitches. Clarke Schmidt mentioned that he might have had different tells in the past, and now he has another one to address. The Yankees pitcher emphasized the importance of constantly paying attention to these small details and making the necessary adjustments, as they can be the difference in a game.

“Everybody has things that they do pitching that you might pattern in certain ways with the way you come set or whatever it may be,” Clarke Schmidt explained. “Maybe in the years past I had a different tip and now it’s another tip. And so it’s just constantly paying attention and making sure that you’re staying on top of small things like that. Obviously, it can be the difference in a game. But for me, it’s something that we’ve been aware of this year just through our outings, and we’ve made adjustments and we’ll continue to make adjustments.”

The Yankees starter revealed that he and his team have been aware of potential tipping issues throughout the season and have made adjustments accordingly, and they will continue to do so moving forward.

Clarke Schmidt prevented from going deep into the game

The Mariners managed to drive up Clarke Schmidt’s pitch count, forcing him to throw 100 pitches over five innings, limiting his ability to go deep into the game.

The Yankees’ 6-3 defeat to Seattle in front of 31,257 fans at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday could be attributed to various factors, such as their struggle to hit opposing starter Bryan Woo, their meager total of five hits, or perhaps some lackluster performances from Aaron Boone’s bullpen.

However, the moment that will be etched in memory from the Yankees’ (33-17) second consecutive loss, their first such occurrence since April 30, took place in a third inning that the team has analyzed and will likely scrutinize further. Clarke Schmidt had been in command, retiring the first seven Mariners he faced, including striking out the side in the second inning, before Josh Rojas doubled down the first-base line.

Despite Schmidt executing a well-placed, full-count cutter on the outside edge of the plate, Moore turned on the pitch and launched it 386 feet to left field for a two-run homer, putting Seattle ahead for good.

Clarke Schmidt expressed his suspicion that there was a bit of sign relaying occurring at second base, even though he delivered a quality pitch. 


The incident highlighted the importance of pitchers being vigilant about potential tells in their delivery and the impact they can have on the outcome of a game. The Yankees will undoubtedly continue to examine the situation closely to identify any adjustments Clarke Schmidt can make to prevent opposing teams from gaining an advantage in the future.

Clarke Schmidt refrained from revealing the specific action in his delivery or mannerisms that he suspected led to the Mariners detecting which pitch was coming. However, the fifth-year right-hander mentioned that he thoroughly reviewed the video between innings and made adjustments that he believes resolved the issue.

The Yankees struggled to generate any offense against Bryan Woo, a 24-year-old right-hander who tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and no walks. Just three games into his season, Woo boasts an impressive 0.57 ERA.

The series has showcased the Mariners’ ability to silence the Yankees’ potent offense while flexing their muscle at the plate, sending a clear message that they are a force to be reckoned with in the American League.

Despite the Yankees bringing up Juan Soto and Aaron Judge as potential tying runs in the eighth inning, both were retired without success. In the ninth, Jose Trevino and Gleyber Torres reached base against closer Andres Munoz, but Oswaldo Cabrera, representing the potential tying run, struck out to end the game.

If the Mariners indeed gained an advantage by decoding the delivery, the Yankees are not lodging any complaints. The Mariners deserved credit for identifying it and capitalizing on the mistake by Clarke Schmidt, who had not allowed a run in his previous 17 ²/₃ innings before giving up the home run.

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