About Last Night: Angels 5, NYY 2
by Paul Semendinger
April 18, 2023
About Last Night - Yeah, yeah, I know. "The Yankees are on pace to have 95 wins..." I get it. There is talent on this team. But, I'm just not high on this team. Maybe we see too many games and maybe the team's flaws are the same flaws every other team has, but, it just seems, and it's too late at night to look into this is vast detail, but the Yankees seem to have far too many of these type of games. Four total hits. They didn't homer. And they didn't win.
Quick Stats -
WP - Andrew Wantz
LP - Clarke Schmidt
Yankees HR - None
Angels HR - Shohei Ohtani
In games not started by Gerrit Cole, the Yankees are 6-7 in 2023
Many scoffed at the fact that the Mets got off to a slower start than the Yankees. The Mets are 11-6 (.647). The Yankees are 10-7 (.588).
Big Story - To me, it's the same old, same old. I believe the Yankees have been a starting pitcher short for a while now. Because of that, and injuries to Luis Severino, Carlos Rodon, and Frankie Montas - and because the Yankees traded away a lot of their young pitchers closest to the big leagues, and because they also traded away Jordan Montgomery last year, they have left themselves with no other choice than to keep starting Clarke Schmidt. And Clarke Schmidt hasn't been good. At all. I'll share some stats below.
Notable Performances - Shohei Ohtani homered. I know so many dream of him wearing pinstripes. I hope they are right. Oh, I hope so. I'm not as optimistic, at all. I don't see the Yankees playing the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to sign him. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am.
Better to Forget - Here are Clarke Schmidt's starts this year:
April 1: 3.1 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs (Yankees lost)
April 7: 3.1 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs (Yankees lost)
April 12: 4 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs (Yankees won)
April 18: 3.2 innings, 6 hits, 4 runs (Yankees lost)
That's four starts, all bad. Clarke Schmidt is sporting an ERA of 8.79.
My Take - We keep hearing, "Once the big guys come back, the Yankees will be fine." And maybe they will be. But, at the same time, we also hear, "Carlos Rodon is close to returning," until that gets modified due to another injury concern. We hear, "Stanton's injury shouldn't keep him out long," until we're told, "It'll be at least a month."
The Yankees never addressed left field over the winter. They also planned for Harrison Bader to be the every day centerfielder, in spite of his very concerning injury history. They also talked, a lot, about Giancarlo Stanton playing in the field, again ignoring the fact that the guy is injured, often, and for long periods of time.
The results of the injuries (some of which should have been foreseen because they were obvious from the start) the Yankees have no other alternative than Clarke Schmidt to pitch every fifth day. They've also been reduced to playing two players they picked up off the scrap heap (Calhoun and Cordero), and/or an infielder playing center field (Kiner-Falefa), and/or another young infielder who is learning the outfield (Cabrera), and/or a clearly washed up and shell of the player he used to be (Hicks) to fill positions that have been needs for quite a while. None of these needs are new.
I'm not inspired by this. At all.
I also know that many many many people love the idea of Anthony Volpe batting lead-off. I think it's a terrible move, and not because he's hitting .180. The kid hasn't even played in his 20th big league game - and already the Yankees expect him to be the table setter. No, no, no, no, no. Volpe should have been told, "Kid, you're batting ninth. All year. This is your year to learn what it's like to be a big leaguer. If you're hitting .385 on July 19, you're still batting ninth. Conversely, if you're hitting .164, you'll still be batting ninth. Period. Full stop." Instead, the Yankees, because they didn't build this roster well, have the kid batting lead off.
I also know that when the Yankees win by the home run, the mocking comments come out, "Ha! Yup, that's too many homers." But, conversely, again, when the Yankees aren't hitting homers, they frequently don't win. It's not that they hit too many homers, it's that when they don't hit home runs, they struggle to score runs. It's not a balanced offense that can defeat an opponent in many ways. It's an offense that, when it clicks, can be amazingly good, but when it doesn't, can be amazingly feeble. This has been the Yankees' approach for years and years. It works for long periods, but it has not worked well enough to get them to the World Series. 2023, to me, at least, seems like more of the same.
Again, I know, "The Yankees are on pace to win 95 games." Of course if they lose tonight, they'll be on pace to win just 90 games. One can get snapped back to reality quickly. Over their last eight games, the Yankees are just 4-4. Sure, it's a small sample size, but so are the 18 games they've played.
I wish I felt more optimistic about this team, but they need Harrison Bader to return and stay healthy which is something he doesn't do. They need Luis Severino to return and stay healthy - something he hasn't been able to do. They need Carlos Rodon to return... and it seems like every step forward is followed by a few steps backward. They need Giancarlo Stanton to be a presence in the lineup, but he's out for at least a month, and, based on the way these things often go... it could be longer. Also, when he returns, is it more or less likely that he'll get injured yet again. Would you plan for a player this fragile to play the outfield? I wouldn't.
Next Up - The Yankees will play tonight at 7:05 p.m. Jhony Brito takes the mound.