Yankees blunders on offense, defense condemns them in 4-2 loss to Rangers

When it rains, it pours. On a day when the Yankees received one of the best starts of the season from Clarke Schmidt, the offense could be sluggish, with mental errors on the field exacerbating punchless at-bats. You can only sustain the most scoring offense in baseball for so long, and that tipping point came in the 10th when the Rangers won Game 1 of the series, 4-2.

Schmidt had to deploy a lot of energy to pass the first two races. A pair hit in the first on a single and a wild pitch at bat that should have been ruled a passed ball over Trevino, but a steal from Josh Jung ended the threat. Then in the second, a double from Robbie Grossman and a single from Ezequiel Duran put the runners in the corners with one out, but once again Schmidt sailed out of the jam, the only casualty being his high pitch count at 46.

The Yankees handled a little traffic in each of the first three innings, but double plays in the first and third wiped out those base runners. They were able to cash in a runner in the second as Anthony Rizzo started with his 211th career hit per pitch. DJ LeMahieu then lasered an overhead slider for a double right of 106.7 mph, an encouraging sign as he works on some mechanical tweaks to get out of his slump. Billy McKinney hit a grounder in the third to tackle Rizzo to open the scoring for the night.

When you’re a team struggling to run races, the general refrain is that you need to master the fundamentals and do all the little things right. Conversely, Murphy’s Law states that “whatever can go wrong, will.” Apparently the Yankees only got the second memo. In the fourth inning after a Duran single, Leody Taveras appeared in center middle field. However, neither Anthony Volpe nor Isiah Kiner-Falefa fully sprinted for the ball, and it fell between them, allowing Duran to score the equalizer, 1-1.

An inning later, IKF started with a single, attempted a steal of second, but then did this:

It’s starting to look like a broken record at this point – Schmidt has little trouble pushing the count to two strikes, but has a terrible time putting away batters effectively from that point on. Far too many times in advantageous counts, Schmidt has either sprayed uncompetitive breaking balls or missed his spots with leaky mid-mid hangers.

In fairness, though, Schmidt found his groove starting in third and ended up giving the Yankees a solid 5.1 innings, allowing just one earned run on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts on 91 shots (and that run scored on poor defense). It’s now been seven straight starts limiting opponents to three points or less, certainly a boon to the rotation given injury absences and inconsistent performances from everyone not named Gerrit Cole.

Jimmy Cordero got the last two outs of the sixth and Wandy Peralta threw a scoreless seventh, prompting Aaron Boone to turn to Clay Holmes for the eighth. He was far from the sharpest, giving up a brace to Jung and a ground single to Mitch Garver, giving Texas their first lead of the contest, 2-1.

The Bombers offense showed the faintest glimmer of life in the eighth, with IKF and McKinney lined up back-to-back singles to open the frame, putting runners on the corners for Trevino. Boone initially called Oswaldo Cabrera to pinch, but after Bruce Bochy came off the bullpen southpaw, Boone went for Kyle Higashioka instead. The decision paid off, as Higashioka lifted a sack fly to center left to rebalance the scores, 2-2.

After quick ninths on either side, this game was heading into extra innings. Luckily, Rangers didn’t extend the ordeal as Adolis GarcĂ­a smoked a suspended first-pitch sweeper from Michael King into the left-hand seats to give Rangers a 4-2 lead, making it five of his last six appearances King has given up a run. The Yankees went quietly down the bottom half to drop Game 1 of the series, 4-2. (Fans were at least able to vent their frustration when Josh Donaldson hit for McKinney in the 10th and was knocked out; fellow countryman Giancarlo Stanton really heard it throughout the night, too.)

Holding baseball’s most scoring offense to two runs in regulation time was an admirable feat, but sooner or later they were going to break through and the Yankees offense just couldn’t do it. Luis Severino will be looking to match today’s starter’s success against Jon Gray tomorrow. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET, so be sure to join us in the game feed to see if the offense really wants to wake up this time.

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