Yankees Game 1 loss to Angels has more than just Schmidt’s failure

Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt is at Yankee Stadium after starting the game against the Angels on Apr 18, 2023.

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The 2023 MLB season has so far seen Clarke Schmidt getting the best and longest opportunity to establish himself as a starting pitcher in the major league. But it seems that he is not giving it the importance it deserves. On Tuesday night, Schmidt’s struggles continued as he once again left the game in the fourth inning as Shohei Ohtani and the Angels beat the Yankees 5-2 in The Bronx.

In his fourth start of the season, Clarke Schmidt threw 3 2/3 innings and ended up giving four runs on six hits. As a starting pitcher in the major leagues, the right-hander still hasn’t won a game.

But the loss also has another side that Yankees captain Aaron Judge explored.

“We had our opportunities, but any time you go up against guys like Trout and Ohtani, you’ve got to come with your best offensively,” Judge said.

The New York Yankees fell behind early and were unable to catch up at Yankee Stadium. Three of New York’s four hits were singles. The only runs happened in the fourth inning. Anthony Volpe walked with the bases full, and Aaron Judge hit a sacrifice fly.

Schmidt’s bad run turned worse

Though he has four starts this season, Schmidt hasn’t thrown a fourth inning in any of those games. He pitched for 3 2/3 innings against the Angels and gave up four runs. He has now pitched 14 1/3 innings and given up 14 earned runs on 22 hits, four of which were home runs, including Ohtani’s two-run homer in the first inning on Tuesday.

Still, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game that Schmidt will be given more time to figure things out in the big leagues.

“I mean, he’s one of our starters right now,” Boone said. “I can’t turn down the leverage at the start of the game. We’re a little banged up in the rotation right now. He’s gotta go out there and find a way and get to that next level right now. We don’t really have that luxury right now.”

The Yankees were very high on Schmidt this spring, when he was competing with Domingo German for the fifth starter spot. But because Carlos Rodon got hurt right away, it never turned into much of a race. With Luis Severino’s injury, which put Jhony Brito in the rotation for the first month of the regular season, the Yankees don’t have a lot of options left to replace Schmidt until Severino gets better.

Schmidt continued to show both promise and frustration against the Angels. He gave up two runs in the first inning and two more in the fourth inning, but he got eight straight outs in between.

“A little bit of that inconsistency,” Boone said. “You see a lot of good in there and times where he’s not controlling the strike zone where he needs to.”

Ohtani became the third left-handed batter to hit a home run off Schmidt this season when he crushed a 2-0 slider in the first inning.

“I take full responsibility for what happened tonight, not being able to get through the heart of that order,” Schmidt said. “They’ve got a good lineup. I feel good; I feel healthy. So it’s just continuing to work and get better every time out.”

A chance to comeback

In the bottom of the first, with two outs and the bases full, the Yankees had a chance to strike back right away. However, Oswald Peraza struck out on a ground ball in his first MLB at-bat of the season.

Schmidt got back on track in the second and third innings, but in the fourth, he ran into more trouble. Mike Trout started the game with a double down the left-field line. When Anthony Rendon hit a line drive to right field, Trout scored. Hunter Renfroe then hit a double into the corner of left field, and Rendon ran from first base to make it 4-0.

Schmidt got the next two batters out before a sinker from him hit Zach Neto on the hand. He faced no more batters after that.

“Obviously you want to be in a better spot, in a better groove and go deeper in games and do the small things where you’re putting your team in a chance to win every single time throughout the whole game,” Schmidt said. “There’s things I need to work on and things I need to do better. But I’m going to continue to put the work in and continue to compete and be better each time out.”

In the bottom of the fourth, Anthony Volpe’s walk and Aaron Judge‘s sacrifice fly finally helped the Yankees score two runs. But it wasn’t enough on a night when they left eight runners on base and fell behind early, just like Schmidt did on the mound.

“Early in the counts, having count leverage is the key, especially to good hitters like they have,” Schmidt said. “When I have my count leverage, I normally have a lot of success. So being able to get more first-pitch strikes is the key overall.”

Yankees offense couldn’t recover

The Yankees missed two chances to score in both the first and second innings.

In the first, after Anthony Rizzo doubled, Oswald Peraza hit the ball well, but he grounded it directly to a fielder and it ended the inning.

In the second, Jose Suarez walked two more times, putting runners in scoring position for the Yankees. This time, Aaron Judge was up. He also hit the ball hard into a line drive to third base, which ended the threat.

In the bottom of the fourth, they were finally able to score two runs. Anthony Volpe walked with the bases full, and then Judge hit a sacrifice fly to left, bringing the score to 4–2.

In two strong innings, Ron Marinaccio gave up one unearned run and struck out two batters. Jimmy Cordero’s two innings were scoreless because he struck out three batters. After scoring two runs in the fifth inning, the Yankees could only get one runner on base for the rest of the game. At the end of the night, they had four hits, seven walks, and only two runs to show for it.

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