Schmidt Tries to Rope-a-Dope Them. Goes Down Like Frazier. Texas 5 NY 2

Clarke Schmidt did his best Muhammed Ali in the 1st inning, rope-a-doping the Texas Rangers, allowing 2 runners on but then getting a swing-and-miss strikeout to end the inning.

In the second, he switched to a Vito Antuofermo strategy — there was a lot of blood. A single and 2 doubles for 2 runs.

By the 3rd he was down like Frazier. Two singles, a double, and a Homer. Texas 5 NY 0.

Not so much Schmidt down, but the Yankees chances of winning. To be fair, Schmidt was not helped by his cornerman — the double was hard-hit but catchable — and would have been caught by Aaron Judge in right field — but Franchy Cordero was in right, and he was eaten up by it. It would have ended the inning with the game still 2-0. Cordero — in a 1-28 slump as well — was sent to the minors after the game.

Schmidt kept pitching — and threw a shutout 4th and 5th. He struck out 8. Tantalizing again.

On the other hill was Jacob deGrom — and so the Yanks seemingly had no chance. But a deGrom no-hitter was broken up with 2 outs in the 4th by Willie Calhoun and deGrom — sadly — was gone. Forearm stiffness. The dreaded Forearm stiffness. Maybe just precautionary; more will be revealed after tests.

After that the Yanks started to put some runs on the board against the Ranger bullpen, but not enough. Final score Texas 5 NY 2. On a Friday night in Texas.

“He battled. Could have really gotten away,” said manager Aaron Boone about Schmidt afterwards. “Still making a lot of quality pitches. But still finding that damage area too much. Those two lefties hurt him. Some mistakes and some damage zones is what’s getting him still.”

“When you miss,” continued Boone, “you got to miss the spots where you’re not going to get hurt. That’s the next step and the next level for him. Thought he made some pitches to get out of it for giving up — what he give up 10 hits? He continued to make some pitches when he was really up against it and able to get us through 5. A lot of good out there; but just too many mistakes that hurt him.”

1. Schmidt Good & Bad & Tantalizing; Franchy Sent Down

Schmidt’s final line: 5 innings, 10 hits, 5 Earned Runs, 8 strikeouts, 1 walk.

In the 2nd he allowed a single, double (to switch-hitter-batting-left Robbie Grossman), groundout (scoring the run), and RBI double to Marcus Semien.

In the 3rd he allowed a single in between two strikeouts, then with 2 outs — a double  (to switch-hitter-batting-left Jonah Heim) and homer (to switch-hitter-batting-left Robbie Grossman).  You sense a pattern.

“Schmidt just can’t retire lefties to save his life,” said baseball analyst Dillard Barnhart on Twitter. “This is why I’m thinking he’s more of a bullpen arm against righties.”

The double by Heim was catchable and would have ended the inning with the score still 2-0.

Grossman hit another double off Schmidt in a scoreless 5th.

“The Heim at bat really stands out to me,” said Schmidt afterwards about his frustrating mistakes. “Two outs, 0-2 — and then make a good pitch but it’s not exactly in the dirt and he does some damage on it. But then I was able to throw up some zeros. Bits and pieces again. You’re showing flashes, but not getting that clean inning throughout the outing.”

“I would say my stuff is the best it’s been,” continued Schmidt. “Velocity wise the sharpness of stuff; I’m getting really good locations I thought today — obviously its frustrating with having such good stuff right now and not being able to put up zero’s throughout the whole outing. Being able to show flashes of it is encouraging but we have to be able to build off of it and learn from our mistakes.”

2. deGrom No Hitter and then Gone

Meanwhile Jacob deGrom was mowing down the Yankee lineup with a no hitter going into the 4th. With Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton out — manager Aaron Boone inexplicably gave Anthony Volpe — who has been red hot — the night off, and also sat Jose Trevino, who got 3 hits the night before. Their replacements — Oswald Peraza at shortstop and Kyle Higashioka at catcher — are both right handed hitters so the move was a bit confusing.

Anthony Rizzo worked a walk off deGrom with 1 out in the 4th to break up the Perfect Game, and then Suzyn Waldman spent 4 full minutes waxing poetic about Willie Calhoun, and he ripped a single to the opposite field to break up the no hitter.

And just like that, the pitching coach, and then the manager, were to the mound and deGrom was gone. Pulled from the game with ‘forearm tightness’. Tests to follow.

3. Yanks Start to Climb Back on Texas Pen

The Yanks jumped on Dane Dunning — an Oswaldo Cabrera double to lead off the 5th, followed by a 2-out single by Kyle Higashioka made it Texas 5 NY 1.

Anthony Rizzo got hit by a pitch by Dunning leading off the 6th, moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, moved to 3rd on a groundout, and scored on a Willie Calhoun sac fly. Texas 5 NY 2.

But Dunning pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning to keep the Yanks at bay.

Jonathan Hernandez pitched a shutout 8th — allowing only a 1-out single to Rizzo, and closer Wil Smith pitched a shutout 9th for the old ballgame.

4. Yank Pen Good

Jimmy Cordero pitched a shutout 6th and 7th and looked good. He was helped by a terrific play in left by Oswaldo Cabrera.

Albert Abreu pitched a shutout 8th.

5. On Calhoun

Suzyn Waldman waxed poetic about Willie Calhoun for a reason — he has pedigree. He was a top prospect coming up in the Dodger organization.

  • He hit .432 with 31 home runs in Junior College.
  • Then bashed his way thru the Dodgers minors — hitting 27 homers in AA in 2016, before the Texas Rangers traded for thinking he’d be their DH/left fielder.
  • Calhoun hit 31 homers and batted .300 in AAA in 2017.

Calhoun was highly regarded as a lefty hitter whose defense was poor — he started as an infielder and moved to the outfield.

Calhoun is a ‘diminutive” 5’9″ (on paper; looks smaller) hitter who packs a punch.

  • His first full season in the majors was 2019 — when as was a 24-yr-old he had a great rookie season — 21-48-.269 (.322 OBP) for the Rangers in only 337 plate appearances.
  • Then came the COVID 2020 season,
  • A 6-25-.250 (.310) year in 2021, and
  • A poor 2022 in the year of historically low batting averages.

Texas traded him to the Giants midway thru the year. The Yanks picked him up as a free agent in January. Instead of spending a bundle on lefty Andrew Benintendi, they left leftfield open for Oswaldo Cabrera and signed lefties Calhoun and Franchy Cordero.

The Boxscore



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