Counting this one, there are 12 more recaps of Yankee games this season. Before you get into the guts of this one, I’d like you to guess how many of those remainders will follow the “nothing really matters when nobody hits,” formula that we’ve had to use so often around here. For me, I say seven of them.
Clarke Schmidt wasn’t very good — more on him in a moment — and Zach McAllister let the ninth get out of hand, but nothing really matters when nobody hits. The top three in the Yankee order combined for five hits, and the club’s only run, while the rest of the lineup mustered a single base knock. Giancarlo Stanton, our resident cleanup hitter in name only, struck out twice and bounced into two double plays, the last one ending the game.
There’s really only a single offensive highlight here, with Aaron Judge on first and the Yankees looking to respond after George Springer’s leadoff home run in the top half. Gleyber Torres stepped to the plate and delivered:
Abandon all hope, ye who read further.
You can’t use one game to say that a guy is running out of steam, but I think it’s at least possible that Clarke Schmidt is feeling the fatigue of a long season. Forgetting the actual results of the start for a moment, it felt like he was overthrowing his fastball combination, especially yanking the sinker into noncompetitive pitches:
There’s only really two meatballs here — one a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. single and the other a harmless groundout. What’s more worrisome to me is how many of those sinkers he’s yanking armside — easy takes for most righthanded hitters. Let’s compare that to a start against Detroit two weeks ago:
Now, we’re only dealing with two starts, so caveat caveat, but it’s evident that he wasn’t yanking those sinkers — they were much more in the zone, impossible to take. You simply have to swing at those, and the whole point of Schmidt’s sinkers are to induce bad contact. That he was missing so badly tonight makes me think he was overthrowing — that the 151 innings he’s thrown this year are getting to him and he feels like he needs extra oomph, or his mechanics have been messy as his body has fatigued.
On the other hand, Schmidt made two mistakes to two pretty good hitters — George Springer led off the game with a home run, and Bo Bichette took Schmidt deep as well. That’s kinda what those guys do. Still, it may be worth considering a shorter leash for Clarke the last two starts of the year, if that yanking is caused by the length of his season getting to him.
McAllister gave up a trio of garbage time runs for the remainder of the scoring, but the Yankees’ decidedly meager effort after the first inning against Yusei Kikuchi and company rendered it mostly pointless. They mustered only four hits from then on, and just two after the third. It was all quiet in the Bronx.
The Yankees have not yet been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but if you’re holding out hope, you are a much more optimistic person than I am. At best, as I wrote in the game thread, they’re playing spoilers. Maybe Michael King can lead them to that role tomorrow against Kevin Gausman (first pitch at 7:05pm ET), but as we keep saying — nothing matters when nobody hits.