“I didn’t like the changeup to Maybin,” Clippard said. “I thought that was a poor choice, and it was right down the middle.”
All four batters Clippard faced Tuesday hit the ball at an exit velocity of at least 95 mph, the threshold for a hard-hit quality of contact, according to Statcast™.
He had never allowed more than two hard-hit balls in a single outing this season — he allowed two hard-hit balls five different times — before Tuesday. Three of those five games in which he allowed two hard-hit balls came within his last six outings, the first coming on June 9 against the Orioles.
Much of his issues, overall, can be attributed to him leaving the ball up in the zone, specifically his changeup, which is one of his better out-pitches when he’s on his game.
Of the 21 changeups Clippard threw on the Yankees’ recent West Coast trip, 17 (81 percent) were located middle or up in the strike zone, or missed the zone high altogether. Prior to the road trip, he threw 47 percent of his changeups middle or up in the zone (61 of 129).
Tuesday night, he threw four changeups. Two missed up-and-away, one was located low in the zone but caught too much of the plate, on a double by Kole Calhoun. The other changeup was the pitch Maybin took deep.
Clippard’s struggles coincide with the Yankees’ recent losing streak, which has now reached seven games. Opposing teams have taken or retaken the lead against Clippard in four of the Yankees’ seven losses in the current slide. He’s made appearances in five of their last seven games.
“Clipp had another tough night,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He left some balls up, a changeup, a couple of sliders.”
“This is obviously the [game] he’s given up the most [runs],” Girardi added. “I think he’s given up a run here and there [before]. But tonight, they seemed to be on everything.”
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.