Booned Again. Abreu Coughs Up Grand Slam. Tampa 8 NY 7

Anthony Volpe about to hit HR in the 8th

Clarke Schmidt was ‘this close’ away from getting out of the 5th inning with the score tied 4-4 — his 3-2 knuckle curve ‘just’ missing the plate for a called ball 4 although Schmidt thought it was a strike. That loaded the bases and out came manager Aaron Boone to yank Schmidt, and bring in a reliever.

Think about all the Yankee pitchers who one might bring into a bases-loaded, 2-out situation in a 4-4 tie vs Tampa — an important game.

Albert Abreu would probably be the last name most Yankee fans would name. Abreu who has been RIPPED in each of his last 3 appearances (and 6 of his last 9), giving up a hit and 2 walks in an inning just Thursday night, and who came in with a 5.09 ERA.

But in came Abreu, he of the 98-MPH heater, but who makes mistakes and gets hit a lot. Then — even odder — catcher Jose Trevino called for 4 straight changeups — the last one hung and Tampa’s Taylor Walls hung it over the wall for a Grand Slam. Tampa 8 NY 4.

Anthony Volpe hit a 2-run homer in the 8th to pull NY to within 8-7, and Aaron Judge hit a fly ball to the warning track 2 feet from the wall in left centerfield for the last out of the game.

On a beautiful, blue sky, sunny Mother’s Day Sunday afternoon at the Stadium.

“We were just really short back there,” said Boone afterwards about bringing in Abreu versus another pitcher. “I don’t want to go double barrel in the 5th inning when we’re short. I needed Albert to get through that or Clarke to get through it — to get us through the bottom (of the lineup).”

NY falls to 23-19; Tampa improves to 31-11. NY is 8 out.

1. Schmidt Didn’t Get It Done. Again.

Clarke Schmidt has great swing-and-miss stuff and a lot of confidence. But he didn’t get it done, again.

  1. He allowed a leadoff double to start the game by Yandy Diaz, who scored on a groundout later in the inning.
  2. Schmidt blew through the 2nd and it looked like he was going to have another good start — his 2nd in a row.
  3. But in the 3rd, a leadoff double by Isaac Paredes and single by Jose Siri made it 2-0 Rays. Schmidt threw a wild pitch to move Siri to 2nd, and he later came in on a sac fly. Tampa 3 NY 0.
  4. Schmidt showed moxie in the 4th — with a little help from his friends: Jonathan Lowe got on due to an error by Oswaldo Cabrera playing 2nd base to start the inning, but Jose Trevino threw Lowe out trying to steal 2nd. Taylor Walls then hit one off the centerfield wall for a triple. But Schmidt got a popup and fly out to end the inning.
  5. But then in the 5th — more trouble. Schmidt struck out Jose Siri, but then infield single, walk, single loaded the bases with 1 out.

Randy Arozarena hit a shot to center that Harrison Bader made a spectacular play on to keep it from a bases-clearing triple — instead it was a sac fly to tie the game 4-4.

Schmidt then went 3-2 on Lowe before the knuckle curve just missed — setting up Abreu’s entrance.

“It’s a good team. They’re obviously swinging it really well right now — they’re leading the league in a lot of offensive categories,” said Schmidt afterwards. “The walk at the end was really tough. I feel they missed a pitch there but it could’ve gone either way; it’s a borderline pitch. Then you have the Lowe single, the Franco broken-bat infield single — I feel I was making good pitches and something could have kicked my way there but just continuing to make pitches throughout.”

“Clarke — obviously the line was rough today and this is a tough lineup for him to go through,” said Boone afterwards. “He gave up a couple of runs there in the first few innings. But I thought he was throwing the ball well today and not making many mistakes. The 5th is where it got away. Up to that point I thought he pitched better than what his line said.”

2. Yank HR’s Give Schmidt 4-3 Lead

On the mound for Tampa was Zach Eflin, who came in with a 4-1 2.91 record. But the Yanks got to him in the bottom of the 3rd — Anthony Volpe led off with an infield single, and Oswaldo Cabrera parked one to right center for a 3-2 game.

Jake Bauers got on with an infield single, and with 2 outs, Anthony Rizzo put NY ahead 4-3 with a homer to right.

3. Abreu Coughs Up Slam

Whether it was Jose Trevino’s idea to throw 4 straight breaking balls or not — Abreu wouldn’t tell, taking full responsibility afterwards.

“It was a big situation in the game; my job is to go in and minimize damage,” said Abreu afterwards through the Yankee translator. “My catcher and myself, we decided on another change up. Unfortunately we missed location. A pitch like that in that count has to be down and away. I missed location, and when you do that you pay for it.”

When asked by Meredith Marakovits if he second guessed the decision to throw a 4th straight changeup, Abreu said “No doubt at all. Especially after we executed 3 changeups before it and saw the kind of swing he was taking at that pitch. If we execute that pitch I think we get the result we were looking for. Unfortunately it ended up in his power zone and we paid a high price today.”

Abreu then pitched a shutout 6th — getting a double play to end the inning after an error by DJ LeMahieu and hit-by-pitch had put 2 on).

And Abreu pitched a shutout 7th — again getting in and out of trouble (walk, popout, strikeout, infield single to Walls, strikeout).

Abreu ended up pitching 2.1 innings allowing 1 run and lowering his ERA to 4.95.

4. Judge & Volpe Bring Yanks Back

Ryan Webber pitched a shutout 8th and Ron Marinaccio a shutout, 1-2-3 9th inning so there was good news there.

Meanwhile in the 7th, Oswaldo Cabrera and Gleyber Torres got consecutive singles with 2 outs — and Aaron Judge knocked in a run with a single to make it 8-5.

In the 8th, Anthony Volpe hit a 2-out, 2-run homer to right center for an 8-7 game.

The Yanks had one more shot to make it a happy Mother’s Day — but in the 9th Jason Adam got them 1-2-3 — Aaron Judge hitting a big fly to the warning track 2 feet from the left field wall for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore

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