After dropping the series opener on Friday in a listless performance, the Yankees bounced back yesterday behind Gerrit Cole and late-game heroics from rookie Anthony Volpe and veteran DJ LeMahieu. Now, they try to win the series today in the Bronx.
On the hill today for the Yankees is Clarke Schmidt. About the best thing to be said for his start to the season is that his spin rates have been outstanding, with his curveball in the 93rd percentile and his fastball in the 98th. But that’s scant solace, as the results on the field have been uglier than a pair of used bowling shoes. In his four previous starts, Schmidt has managed to make it through a grand total of 14.1 innings, to the tune of an unsightly 8.79 ERA.
Schmidt’s strikeout rate is up so far from last season, and his walk rate down. But thus far, when he makes mistakes, opposing batters have shown him no mercy. Through his previous outings, he’s surrendering 2.5 HR/9. There is no one pitch to take the blame. Among those he tosses with regularity, only his curve is not getting shelled. His new cutter is getting hit hardest. Opponents are 9-for-16 against it and are slugging 1.063 against the offering. It’s past time for Schmidt to figure things out. Getting fewer than four lackluster innings per start from him is not sustainable.
For the Jays, right-hander Kevin Gausman is tasked with facing the Yankees. The veteran is off to a decent start for Toronto in his second campaign north of the border. Today is his fifth start of the season. In the previous four, he’s tossed 24.2 innings and has a 3.65 ERA. So far in 2023, he’s throwing his four-seam fastball half the time, complementing it with a changeup he throws about 40 percent and a slider that at 10 percent.
Fresh off his second career home run and first curtain call, Volpe leads off again and mans shortstop. Oswald Peraza makes his third start in a row at the hot corner as he tries to stake his claim to a new position in wake of Josh Donaldson’s now-extended absence. Anthony Rizzo gets a half-day off, holding down the fort as the DH today while the walk-off artist from yesterday, LeMahieu, covers first base in his return to the starting lineup.
Against Gausman, center fielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa can boast success in very limited action, with three hits in seven at bats. But Aaron Judge is, as usual, the one to watch. The MVP is 9-for-24 against the Jays’ starter, with three of those knocks ending up in the stands. All three homers did come in 2017 though, when Gausman was still working things out as an Orioles starter before flourishing elsewhere.
After a really blah Friday series opener, the Yankees are once again in position to take a series from an opponent. I’d really like to see them win this one. Division games always matter, and the Jays are managing to become more obnoxious every time we play them.
How to watch
Location: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, NY
First pitch: 1:35 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES – NYY / SENT, SNET NOW App – TOR
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1280 / SN590, Sportsnet.ca
Online stream: MLB.tv
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Series Finale #RepBX pic.twitter.com/bpBDS7hAef— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 23, 2023
Let's end the road trip with a win! #NextLevel pic.twitter.com/kdTSHTZWJ7— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 23, 2023