After a dominant 11-2 win behind Gerrit Cole yesterday evened the Yankees’ series with the Guardians at one game each, the Bronx Bombers turn to Clarke Schmidt (0-0, 9.45 ERA) to try and secure their fourth consecutive series win to start the 2023 season on Wednesday afternoon.
Schmidt has struggled in two starts since claiming a rotation spot at the outset of the regular season, failing to get past one out in the fourth inning on both occasions, having been charged with three and four earned runs respectively in starts against the Giants and the Orioles.
A fair amount of hubbub was had earlier in the spring over the development of Schmidt’s cutter, which many thought would be a carrying pitch against left-handed hitters and would allow him to work through lineups more than once or twice. To this point, that has yet to be the case: The cutter has been absolutely obliterated to the tune of a .784 wOBA and .543 wOBA. His sweeping slider, however, remains excellent, garnering a 37-percent whiff rate despite allowing a touch more hard contact than you’d like.
Opposite Schmidt on the home side, 25-year-old right-hander Peyton Battenfield lines up for his MLB debut. A ninth-round pick of the Astros out of Oklahoma State in 2019, Battenfield posted a solid 3.63 ERA in 28 Triple-A starts last season covering a hair over 150 innings, though it was accompanied with a meager 17-percent strikeout rate (6.3 K/9). Described as a “kitchen sink” righty (read: junkballer) by FanGraphs’ Eric Longehagen, Battenfield reportedly balances out low-nineties fastball velocity with an array of breaking balls and offspeed pitches of varying speeds and shapes. He went five innings and allowed two earned runs while striking out three in his only minor league action so far.
Aaron Boone is switching up the action a bit on the offensive side, attempting to inject some life into Anthony Volpe’s bat by moving him to the leadoff spot after starting in the nine-hole for each of his first ten starts and perhaps making sure he gets at least two or three looks today against what appears to be an underwhelming starting pitcher. DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres will both sit out with minor injuries (tight quad for LeMahieu, sore hip for Torres).
Franchy Cordero remains in the lineup and moves up to the fifth spot after hitting his third home run of the season, while Aaron Hicks gets a chance to show whether he still has any defensive contributions to make, lining up in center for the first time this season as Aaron Judge’s legs get a half-day off in the DH slot, though his bat remains in the lineup. Kyle Higashioka gets the nod behind the plate, his fourth start of the year with Jose Trevino sitting the day game after a night game.
Cleveland’s batting order is shuffled around slightly from yesterday’s, but the characters remain the same, with a few exceptions: Amed Rosario returns to his customary shortstop role after a schedule day off, and Higashioka is joined by Cam Gallagher as second string catchers lacing them up for day-game-following-night-game duty, taking the place of the streaking Mike Zunino. We’ll see you there!
How To Watch
Location: Progressive Field — Cleveland, Ohio
First Pitch: 1:10 pm EDT
TV Broadcast: YES Network; Bally Sports Great Lakes
Radio Broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280, WTAM 1100
Online Stream: MLB.tv