The Yankees are not outwardly concerned about their rotation, but after a pair of shaky starts from Nestor Cortes and Clarke Schmidt over the weekend, there’s some room to worry.
A day after weathering a six-run outing from Cortes, the Yankees could not do the same when Schmidt was charged with seven runs on six hits over 4 ²/₃ innings against the Rays in a Mother’s Day matinee they ultimately lost 8-7.
As much as Luis Severino’s return from a lat strain — which could come as soon as Sunday — should help the rotation, it is less than ideal that Cortes and Schmidt both have ERAs over 5.00, with Schmidt’s ballooning to 6.30 after Sunday’s loss.
“We gotta get a little more out of the rotation as a whole, no question about it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone admitted, though he ultimately downplayed any bigger-picture issues. “Nestor I do believe will be fine, I think this is a little bump in the road. I think he’ll make his adjustments and get back on track.
“Clarke, obviously the line was rough today and this is a tough lineup I think for him to go through. He gave up a couple runs there in his first few innings and I actually felt like he was throwing the ball really well today and not making a lot of mistakes.”
The third time through the order, though, was when the Rays started getting their licks in, as Schmidt loaded the bases in the fifth before giving up a sacrifice fly and walking Josh Lowe.
Though Schmidt was not responsible for the ensuing grand slam that Albert Abreu gave up to Taylor Walls, he did put the Yankees in a less-than-ideal spot on a day where the bullpen was stretched thin.
The ball four call to Lowe — which pitching coach Matt Blake was tossed for arguing — lingered as a sore spot for Schmidt afterwards.
“I felt like I was making good pitches and obviously something could’ve kicked my way a little bit at the end right there,” Schmidt said. “Just continuing to make pitches throughout and continuing to compete. We thought we were close to getting out of that one. Obviously it’s a tough one to end on that note.”
Regarding his season as a whole, Schmidt sounded optimistic.
“Results-wise, obviously it could be a little bit better,” he said. “But as far as being able to go out there and continuing to improve, show some good outings out there [and] quality, I think it’s just continuing to refine the things we need to refine and work on. But overall, we’re not far off where we want to be.”