When has Clarke Schmidt delivered for the New York Yankees in a tight situation? It’s simply never happened. And it’s not a knock on him. The combination of Schmidt and late-game or high-stress relief appearances is just one that doesn’t work.
But manager Aaron Boone doesn’t read context clues. It seems like he erases every Schmidt outing from his mind right before he’s about to bring the right-hander in.
During Game 1 of the ALCS — one which the Yankees took the lead early and kept it tied through five innings — Boone decided to tip the scales in Houston’s favor with yet another questionable bullpen decision, forcing us to relive Game 3 of the ALDS against the Cleveland Guardians.
Jameson Taillon was pitching well. He allowed just one earned run on four hits and three walks in 4.1 innings of work (67 pitches), but was immediately yanked after surrendering a double to Jeremy Peña with one out in the fifth.
Who did Boone call upon? That’s right, Schmidt! Who was due up? Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker. Clarke Schmidt. To face the heart of the Astros order. Miraculously, though, after walking Alvarez and Bregman, Schmidt forced Tucker to ground into a double play. Out of the inning. Whew. That was close.
But Boone trotted Schmidt out for the sixth! How did that go? See for yourself.
Aaron Boone’s awful Clarke Schmidt decision dooms Yankees in Game 1 vs Astros
An 0-2 pitch to Yuli Gurriel was an 86 MPH … what? Chest high. What in the world was that? Gurriel belted it into the left field seats to give the Astros a 2-1 lead.
The next batter? No. 8 hitter Chas McCormick, who had already gotten on base TWICE against Taillon — something else we’ll never understand. On a full count, McCormick took Schmidt deep to right field with an oppo shot after shelling a 94 MPH fastball.
Schmidt is not a bullpen asset. He is a bullpen piece to be deployed in specific situations in which the stakes are not elevated. He’s an innings eater. He’s there to protect comfortable leads. But Boone has yet to detect that. He continues to trot out the right-hander for unfavorable situation after unfavorable situation, tasking him with the impossible.
This will now lose the Yankees their second playoff game in less than a week. Many thought Schmidt might’ve been left off the ALCS roster after what he did in ALDS Game 3, but instead he was included, used right off the bat, and failed almost instantaneously.
When will this team learn?