Clarke Schmidt still has at least a few weeks left in the Yankees rotation, as both Luis Severino and Carlos Rodón work to complete their respective rehabs.
During his next few starts, Schmidt will have to overcome his recurring bugaboo of being punished by left-handed hitters. Entering Tuesday's game, he's allowed 13 hits in 30 at-bats (with four walks) against lefties this year, an issue the cutter was supposed to solve. He's allowed three, four, and three earned runs in his three short starts this season, none of them lasting longer than four innings.
Good thing he's being ambushed by lefty-hitting Shohei Ohtani in the first inning on Tuesday!
Though the Guardians are their own type of "death by 1,000 cuts" beast, the Angels should very clearly be the right-hander's biggest challenge yet. If he can't take a drastic leap quickly and get the cutter over, he might singlehandedly convince Ohtani not to choose the Yankees. After all, why would he opt for a free agent destination where he can't face Schmidt?
Yankees Starting Lineup for Tuesday, April 18 vs Angels
That seven-through-nine...woof! Truly. But ... there's a bonus at second base!
Yankees Pitching Probables for Tuesday, April 18 vs Angels
It'll be Schmidt for the Yankees, making his fourth start of the year (10.2 innings pitched, 11 Ks, 8.44 ERA, 1.97 WHIP). On the bump for the Angels will be ... Jose Suarez, who's posted a 10.80 ERA in two starts spanning 8.1 innings. His WHIP is somehow more unsightly than Schmidt's; Suarez checks in with a 2.28 mark.
It's also notable that Ohtani was supposed to pitch Monday's Patriots Day game in Boston and carry the Angels powerfully into this contest (while the Yankees had an off day). Instead, a monsoon happened midway through Los Angeles' win, knocking Ohtani from the mound after two innings and forcing the bullpen to cover an eternity. Tucker Davidson did yeoman's work, absorbing 3.1 innings and getting the win, but LAA aren't exactly fresh after a rough-and-tumble four-gamer.