CHICAGO — In light of the Yankees’ recent misfortune with their starting rotation, right-hander Clark Schmidt’s presence looms larger.
And Schmidt continues to answer the buzzer.
“Clark Schmidt has come of age here over the past few months,” Yankees coach Aaron Boone said Monday.
Schmidt has been a consistent presence in the New York rotation for a while now, and that continued in Tuesday’s 7-1 win over the White Sox on a guaranteed average field. He allowed one run—Louis Robert Jr.’s solo homer—with four hits in 5 1/3 innings, one walk compared to seven hits.
It was the fourteenth consecutive start in which Schmidt has allowed three or fewer runs.
“I think you could say he’s been one of the best pitchers in the league for probably the last two or three months,” Boone said. “After kind of taking his mass in the first month of the season, he’s been really consistent for us.”
Schmidt got off to a slow start this season, carrying a 6.30 ERA through nine starts while pitching fewer than five innings pitched in six of those games. But he turned a corner in May and has been running ever since.
Going into Tuesday, the 27-year-old has a 3.23 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) since May 19. That was tied for 18th in baseball (among pitchers with a minimum of 60 innings pitched) with Astros ace Framper Valdez.
His presence has proven particularly valuable to the Yankees’ short-sighted rotation this season. Carlos Rodon started the season on the injured list, made his debut in July and returned to IL on Monday with a left hamstring strain.
Nestor Cortes spent nearly 2 months on the IL with a rotator cuff strain and only recently returned. Domingo German entered the banned list last week.
It was, after Gerrit [Cole]Boone said of Schmidt.
Schmidt had a good 2022 season largely spent in the bullpen; He finished with a 3.12 ERA in 29 appearances, including three starts. Being in the full-time rotation has its differences, but even as he struggled early on in 23, his confidence hasn’t wavered.
“It’s baseball, and you’re bound to face adversity,” Schmidt said. “Sometimes the situation is worse than others. The way you handle adversity in this game tells you a lot about yourself.
“For me, I was just kind of keeping putting the work in and continuing to trust my stuff and that the results would come. When they started coming, once the ball rolled down the hill, it just seemed unstoppable, in a sense.”
Schmidt didn’t allow a hit on Tuesday until Robert’s homer hit the fourth. Six White Sox batters struck out in the first three innings, and the Yankees’ bats responded soon after.
New York, after leaving 28 runners on base in the previous two games, went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position Tuesday. But the Yanks scored a fourth inning inning. After back-to-back singles by Giancarlo Stanton and Billy McKinney, Isiah-Kiner Falefa hit a double.
Kyle Higashioka and Aaron Judge hit a home run in the eighth to provide the insurance runs. It was Homer’s first Higashioka walk. It was Judge’s second homer since his exit from IL late last month.
“It felt good to break the ice there and get things started,” said Kiner-Falefa. “The two guys in front of me did a great job going uphill.”
With their offensive struggles in recent days, Tuesday’s performance was a good spectacle for the Yankees. Of course, at this point in the season, every win is just as important as the next.
The Yankees have had their ups and downs over the past week but they will enter Wednesday 4 1/2 games from the AL Wild Card site.
“It’s just a matter of getting the job done, and that’s what it’s about, if you like, going down the line,” said outfielder Harrison Bader, who drove Kenner Valeva home with an RBI single in the fourth. “Any way we can do it, whether it’s running one at nine or by 20, or what we saw tonight…
“Just getting the job done, getting wins, keeping it moving and moving forward. That’s all we care about.”
“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”