Exactly 100 years after Babe Ruth christened the original Yankee Stadium with the ballpark’s first home run, a different two-way sensation went deep in the Bronx.
Yankees’ fans dreaming of Shohei Ohtani in pinstripes got an up-close look at the damage he can do at the modern Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night when the Angels’ superstar — and impending free agent — made quick use of his left-handed power in the series-opener. Ohtani lined a Clarke Schmidt hanger over the right field wall in the first inning, giving Los Angeles a near-instant lead in a 5-2 win.
The two-run homer also spelled the start of another rough night for the right-handed Schmidt.
Schmidt failed to complete four innings of work for the third time in four starts this season as the Halos tagged him for four earned runs. Schmidt struck out five and didn’t allow a walk for the first time this year, though he did hit a batter. Either way, the Angels’ six hits did enough to force another premature exit for the 27-year-old.
Schmidt also surrendered two runs in the fourth when Mike Trout doubled. Anthony Rendon singled the three-time MVP home before a Hunter Renfroe double scored another run to make it 4-0.
While Schmidt said “a number of things” contributed to his struggles, he and Aaron Boone agreed that it’s important for him to get ahead in counts. The manager also wants to see Schmidt control his heater better.
“For any pitcher, it starts with the fastball command,” Boone said. “When you’re really going to a next level, you tend to be dictating counts and controlling counts and getting yourself where you have the leverage. And that’s been the challenge for the most part.”
Added Schmidt: “I don’t think it’s necessarily a command thing. I think, early in the counts, having count leverages, is the key, especially to good hitters like they have.”
Whatever the reasons, Schmidt’s first extended stay in a major league rotation has been disappointing. One of three fill-ins due to injuries, the still-inexperienced pitcher now owns an 8.79 ERA, and Schmidt’s longest start of the season, April 12 in Cleveland, only logged four innings while he gave up three runs. Lefties have also been hard on the hurler, though Angels on both sides of the plate hurt him on Tuesday.
When Boone was asked if the Yankees can afford to let Schmidt work through his issues at the big league level, the skipper offered a simple “yeah.” But when pressed on Schmidt’s role moving forward, Boone conceded that the Yankees don’t have many options with Carlos Rodon, Luis Severino and Frankie Montas all on the injured list.
“He’s one of our starters right now,” Boone said. “We’re a little banged up in the rotation right now and he’s got to go out there and kind of find a way and get to that next level.
“We don’t really have that luxury right now.”
The Bombers’ offense, meanwhile, cut the deficit in half in the fourth inning when Oswald Peraza walked, Kyle Higashioka singled and Aaron Hicks earned his own free pass, setting Anthony Volpe up with the bases loaded and one out. He, too, drew a walk to put the Yankees on the board. Aaron Judge then drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. But the bleeding stopped there with an Anthony Rizzo strikeout, and two Higashioka errors helped the Angels score another run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Rendon.
The Yankees’ bullpen kept them in the game, as Greg Weissert, Ron Marinaccio, Jimmy Cordero and Albert Abreu didn’t allow an earned run following Schmidt’s departure. But the Yanks never scored after the fourth, and thus dropped the first of three games against Los Angeles.
“We had our opportunities,” Judge said, “but anytime you’re going up against guys like Trout, Ohtani, you gotta come with your best offense.”
The team and Jhony Brito will look to rebound on Wednesday in the second game of the series. Brito is coming off his first taste of big league adversity; he let up seven earned run on April 13 while recording just two outs against the Twins in a blowout loss.
Griffin Canning, who allowed two runs over five innings to the Nationals in his first start of the year on April 12, is slated to start for the Angels.
Source: Berkshire mont
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