The highly-anticipated New York Yankees starting rotation has not been what fans were hoping for early in the 2023 season. Blockbuster addition Carlos Rodón has yet to make his debut, and is joined by Frankie Montas and Luis Severino on the IL.
Thus, the Yankees have had to turn to unconventional options to button up the back end of the starting rotation. This includes right-hander Clarke Schmidt, who had a promising season in 2022 pitching mostly out of the bullpen.
Schmidt, as a starter, has been a different story this season. He entered Tuesday night's marquee showdown against Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels with a gaudy 8.44 ERA. Tuesday's first inning did not provide any relief for Schmidt, providing exactly the opposite.
Lead-off hitter Taylor Ward roped a double over Aaron Judge's head before Ohtani laced a 116.7 MPH home run into the bullpen in the next at-bat. Mike Trout followed with a 108.5 MPH single and Schmidt was eventually only saved by a hit-and-run turning into a double play for the Angels.
While it could have been much worse than two runs (and oh, believe us, it did get worse), it does not change most fans' feelings about Schmidt's place in the starting rotation. After all, the patented cutter did next to nothing to help neutralize lefties, after all that noise.
Yankees fans are sick of seeing Clarke Schmidt as a starting pitcher
Schmidt's first-inning splits are staggering this season, making it clear that his home should be in the bullpen, not in the starting rotation. After Tuesday's two-run first inning, Schmidt's first-inning ERA rose to 9.00. Opposing batters are now hitting .389 against Schmidt in the first inning.
Statistically speaking, Schmidt has been one of the worst starting pitchers in the entire league this season. He is in the fifth percentile (or worse) in expected ERA, hard-hit rate, expected batting average and expected slugging percentage, per Baseball Savant.
Throughout it all Schmidt has been experimenting with a new pitch — a cutter. Schmidt's cutter has literally been the complete opposite of Mariano Rivera's cutter, as opposing batters were hitting .643 on that pitch heading into Tuesday. Ouch.
It is pretty bad when fans are expecting mediocrity out of you, and that is the point fans have reached with Schmidt. Ohtani's home run was the third-hardest-hit ball of the entire MLB season to this point, and it was not even surprising for some fans.
But hey, at least Yankees fans can take solace in the fact that Schmidt won't be starting games in the Bronx when they matter the most... at least, we hope.