New York won the series opener last night versus Texas, but their victory was not the biggest story coming out of that contest. Reigning AL MVP, single-season AL Home Run King, and franchise icon Aaron Judge left the game in fourth inning with right hip discomfort. As of this afternoon, he’s headed for an MRI, and an entire organization and fanbase waits with bated breath (as does Jake Bauers on the taxi squad).
Clarke Schmidt gets the ball for New York tonight, coming off his best start of the season, though that bar was admittedly extremely low prior to his last outing. That last start, against a powerful Jays lineup, was promising. Schmidt threw 5.2 innings and whiffed eight Jays. Although he gave up three runs on two sixth-inning dingers, all the runs on his ledger were of the unearned variety, after an Anthony Volpe error put the disastrous frame in motion.
It’ll take more than one good start for Schmidt to bring the unsightly numbers on the back of his baseball card to a more respectable place. Likewise, after his horrendous beginning to the season, it’ll take more than that one outing versus Toronto for fans to start to feel something other than angst and anxiety when he takes the mound.
On the other side, Jacob deGrom gets the ball. The former Met and two-time Cy Young Award winner is off to a good start, especially considering the fact that he got shelled in his first outing of the season. He’s struck out 43 batters in 26.2 innings and has a 0.79 WHIP so far in 2023. And then there’s the matter of deGrom’s Statcast metrics…
The Yankee lineup is getting pretty thin folks. With Judge out, the club is down to three established veteran bats with track records of success. Luckily, one of those players also has a track record of success against deGrom. Anthony Rizzo is 10-for-24 in his career against the ace, with one of those hits leaving the yard. Aaron Hicks is next in line in terms of hitting deGrom, though his success largely came at a better time in his career. The embattled left fielder is 4-for-11 against him with a couple of RBI.
The Yankees will need all the help that they can get tonight. They’re missing Judge and rookie standout Anthony Volpe finds himself getting the night off. If you had “cleanup hitter Willie Calhoun” on your bingo card, congratulations. Four through nine in the order, the Yankees feature hitters who boast wRC+ of: 51, 62, 40, 63, 16, and 44. If you’re wondering, that adds up to 276. Aaron Judge’s wRC+ in 2022: 207. This is truly a bleak starting nine.
Next man up. No one feels sorry for the Yankees. Time to adjust to Judge’s absence for however long it lasts, and figure out a way to score runs without the Captain.
How to watch
Location: Globe Life Field — Arlington, TX
First pitch: 8:05 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES – NYY / Bally Sports Southwest Extra - TEX
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1280 / 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270
Online stream: MLB.tv
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Friday Night Baseball #RepBX pic.twitter.com/thid5iGgkt— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 28, 2023
Ace on the hill. #StraightUpTX pic.twitter.com/PUDXh7zklp— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) April 28, 2023