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#1   07.12.2022 11:38          
CLEVELAND Between a sea of red jerseys, flooding acro s the infield to celebrate a walk-off win, Yankees right-hander Clarke Schmidt walked briskly toward the first-base dugout with his head down.Seconds earlier, Schmidt was one strike away from recording the final out in Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Progre sive Field, a postseason save that the former top prospect would Justin Verlander Jersey 've never forgotten.Instead, as right fielder Oscar Gonzalez lurched acro s the strike zone and lined a base hit back up the box on a 1-2 slider, scoring the tying and winning runs, Schmidt was the losing pitcher, finding himself at the center of a as well.Schmidt had been warming up on and off leading up to the bottom of the ninth, standing by as left-hander Wandy Peralta began the frame. When the lefty gave up two hits, and manager Aaron Boone emerged from the Yankees' dugout with his right arm raised, Schmidt knew it was his time to shine.What the right-hander wasn't thinking about is how Boone had elected not to use closer Clay Holmes in the save situation, a decision the skipper later explained was due to Holmes being unavailable as he works back from inflammation in Hector Rondon Jersey his right shoulder."I mean, those decisions are above my head," Schmidt said in New York's clubhouse after the 6-5 lo s. "I'm focused on what my job is, and that's to go out there and pitch, kind of let the rest settle itself out. So my name was called and that's all I focused on."Schmidt entered the game with runners on first and third and one man out, needing to go through a dangerous part of Cleveland's lineup. He quickly ran into trouble, promptly allowing an RBI single off the bat of Amed Rosario, cutting the Guardians' deficit to just one.After Jos Ramrez blooped another single against the shift, Schmidt buckled Houston Astros Jersey down and dismantled Cleveland's cleanup hitter, striking Josh Naylor out on three pitches. Quite frankly, the two singles Schmidt permitted weren't entirely his fault either. Rosario ripped a sinker that was in on his hands, off the plate. Ramrez's single would've been an easy pop out to shortstop if New York wasn't shifting him to pull the ball. It had an exit velocity of just 56.9 mph.Scroll to ContinueThat's when Gonzalez stepped up with a chance to tie or win the game.Schmidt attacked him with his slider. He executed his 1-2 pitch with a fourth straight slider, darting Preston Tucker Jersey beyond the outside corner at the knees toward Kyle Higashioka's mitt."It was off the plate. We wanted to throw an expand slider there," Schmidt explained. "He put a good swing on it and credit to him. I felt like I made some quality pitches throughout the inning and they put some quality swings out there. So, I mean, they're a gritty bunch. It was a really good swing."Asked if he regrets throwing four straight sliders to Gonzalez in that decisive at-bat, Schmidt said he didn't have a problem leaning on his best pitch with the game on the line. Opponents Jeff Bagwell Jersey were hitting .183 (13-for-81) against that pitch in the regular season, the offering he used 37.9 percent of the time in 2022."You maybe can set it up a little bit better thinking back on it, but Higgy and I felt like that was probably the best pitch to go with and we executed the spot and he executed a swing," Schmidt said. "So sometimes you gotta give credit to the hitter."MORE:

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