Prior to the Yankees’ rubber game against the Guardians, Brian Cashman discussed his team’s last place standing and the injuries that have decimated the roster he assembled.
“Obviously, it’s not the team that we put together,” Cashman said Wednesday during a wide-ranging scrum that lasted nearly 30 minutes. “We’ve got a lot of injuries, so we had to turn our attention to some alternative choices. Obviously, we’re not playing our best baseball with what we currently have.”
Ironically, a few alternative choices helped the Yankees win a wild series finale, 4-3, after Aaron Boone made a questionable choice of his own.
The Bombers’ first two runs came courtesy of solo shots from Willie Calhoun and Jake Bauers in the fifth inning. Both were non-roster invitees in spring training and didn’t start the season in the majors.
Guardians ace Shane Bieber gave up both homers.
Calhoun’s longball was his second in as many days after his first dinger in pinstripes gave the Yankees the lead in Tuesday’s win. Bauers’ Wednesday blast was his first hit and home run with the Yankees, too. It was also his first jack in the majors since 2021 after he spent half of 2022 with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees then walked it off in the 10th when Jose Trevino hit a pinch-hit RBI single.
Meanwhile, Clarke Schmidt, one of three injury fill-ins for the Yankees’ rotation, didn’t allow an earned run for the second time this season. Two runners crossed the plate in the first inning thanks to some shaky defense from Gleyber Torres and Anthony Rizzo, but Schmidt kept the Guardians off the board after the opening frame.
The righty totaled 4.1 innings, six hits, two unearned runs, two walks, four strikeouts and 79 pitches while lowering his ERA from 6.84 to 5.83.
From there, Ian Hamilton, Jimmy Cordero and Ron Marinaccio took care of business out of the bullpen, but Clay Holmes had another awful ninth inning that saw the Guardians pull ahead, 3-2.
The Yankees recovered in the bottom of the frame when Calhoun tied things up with a single, but the decision to use Holmes, only to see him struggle for the second time in three days, led to boos and “Fire Boone” chants at Yankee Stadium. It also led to an injury for Harrison Bader, who left the game after colliding with novice left fielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa on a fly ball that fell.
Oswald Peraza also exited in the ninth following a successful stolen base.
Albert Abreu handled the 10th before Trevino walked it off in the bottom of the inning.
Despite the two home runs and a lot of hard contact, Bieber completed eight innings of work while tallying five hits, two earned runs, one walk and four strikeouts over 93 pitches.
With the regular season series against Cleveland over, the Yankees have a much needed off day on Thursday before a Tampa Bay showdown with the first place Rays.
Jhony Brito, Domingo German and Gerrit Cole will start at The Trop after a case of strep throat pushed Nestor Cortes’ next start to Monday.
Yonny Chirinos, Drew Rasmussen and Josh Fleming are lined up for the Rays, though Tampa Bay has to finish its series with the surprisingly strong Pirates on Thursday afternoon.