Yankees power past the Guardians with two strong wins in doubleheader

MLB: Game Two-New York Yankees at Cleveland Guardians
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees were reeling after a loss to the lowly Miami Marlins, heading into Cleveland to face a Guardians team that held the second-best record in baseball. Last night’s game was rained out, so they would have to play a doubleheader in Cleveland, with windy and cold weather presenting an interesting feel for a game that would test both bullpens. Clarke Schmidt would go in Game 1 of this series, but the Yankees would need to call up veteran Cody Poteet to make his first MLB appearance since 2022 to make the start in Game 2.

Despite the unusual conditions, the Yankees were able to pull away with two big wins, as the Bronx Bombers are now an MLB-best 12-3 on the season. Great starting pitching and timely home runs propelled the Yankees to a doubleheader sweep, as they’ve now won their fifth-straight series to open the year.

Oswaldo Cabrera Puts the Yankees Ahead For Good in Game 1 Victory

MLB: Game Two-New York Yankees at Cleveland Guardians
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Clarke Schmidt took the mound on a cold and windy day at Progressive Field, and while he’d battle through command issues and his usual struggles the third time through the lineup, he still had a strong start. Firing in five innings of one-run baseball, the right-hander was able to strike out seven Guardians (although he walked five), and keep the Yankees in the game. His ERA on the season sits below four, but the final progression for him is figuring out a way to keep it going late into a game.

The big blow came off of the bat of Oswaldo Cabrera, who delivered a two-run shot into right field, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Double plays in big spots held the team to just three runs on the afternoon, but their ability to get on base and grind at-bats kept them in the game even as they struggled to string hits together in timely situations. With Jon Berti on the IL, there’s even more pressure on Oswaldo Cabrera to keep performing, as DJ LeMahieu has yet to return from his injury.

He now has an 181 wRC+ on the season, hitting .317 with 11 RBIs in 11 games played thus far. This comes after he sat during the Miami Marlins series, as the Yankees faced three-straight lefty starters. The bullpen was also clutch in this contest, as after Cleveland chased Schmidt in the sixth, Caleb Ferguson came in to work around a Gleyber Torres error and preserve New York’s lead.

MLB: Game One-New York Yankees at Cleveland Guardians
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Hamilton fired two scoreless innings to bridge the game to closer Clay Holmes, who allowed a leadoff double but then shut the door on the Guardians. This would give the Yankees their 11th win of the season, making them 4-1 in series openers and 3-0 following a loss, something that has helped them remain consistent and win these series with ease. That being said, the Yankees would now be without three key pieces in their bullpen for Game 2, and this would mean newcomer Cody Poteet and the offense would have tons of pressure to step up.

Cody Poteet and the Offense Dominate To Complete the Doubleheader Sweep

MLB: Game Two-New York Yankees at Cleveland Guardians
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

In the worst way possible, the New York Yankees needed Cody Poteet to at least give them length. May 25th, 2022 was the last time that Cody Poteet made an MLB start, as he lasted just three innings and gave up five runs against the Tampa Bay Rays. He hadn’t completed five innings or more in a start since May 23rd, 2021 against the New York Mets, but that streak would come to an end in Cleveland as Poteet showed up big-time for the Bronx Bombers.

Flashing a deep mix that includes a four-seamer, sinker, changeup, curveball, and sweeper, the right-hander fired in six innings of one-run baseball, striking out four batters and walking none. The Yankees needed length, but also getting elite run prevention is a cherry on top of that. The offense made sure that their key bullpen arms would get the night off however, as they tagged Triston McKenzie for five runs in four innings, as he walked six Yankees with just one strikeout in a disaster outing for the young right-hander.

MLB: Game Two-New York Yankees at Cleveland Guardians
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The scoring got started early, as an RBI single from Anthony Rizzo and an RBI walk from Giancarlo Stanton gave them an early 2-0 lead, but it wasn’t until the middle innings that they erupted. Anthony Volpe smacked an RBI single up the middle in what was a two-hit and two-walk performance for the second-year shortstop, and Juan Soto had the knockout blow. A booming three-run blast to deep centerfield gave the Yankees a 6-0 lead, after four innings, and Oswaldo Cabrera would double in a run to continue his red-hot start to the season.

Austin Wells added a sacrifice fly to give the Yankees an 8-0 lead, and while Estevan Florial and Josh Naylor would add solo shots late in the game, the Yankees were in control all night. Dennis Santana mopped up two innings to keep the bullpen fresh, walking one batter and striking out another without allowing a run. Ron Marinaccio allowed the solo blast to Naylor in the ninth, but the Yankees were able to walk away with a sweat-free win to improve to 12-3 on the season and remain at the top of the American League East.

Nestor Cortes gets the ball against fellow left-hander Logan Allen at 1:40 PM EST as the Yankees look to collect their second sweep of the season.

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