Clarke Schmidt has the unenviable task of trying to follow up perfection when the New York Yankees go for a road series win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon in the finale of a three-game set
After Yankees starter Jhony Brito was outdueled by Oakland's Paul Blackburn in a 2-1 defeat in the series opener on Tuesday, Domingo German took matters into his own hands in the Wednesday rematch, smothering the A's with a perfect game in an 11-0 romp
The perfect game was the first in the majors in almost 11 years and the fourth in Yankees history, following efforts by Don Larsen, David Wells and David Cone
Giancarlo Stanton homered and combined with Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa for seven RBIs to provide enough of a cushion that German could concentrate on his pursuit of history.
The 30-year-old admitted after the game he gained emotional support from more than just his teammates on his big night.
"Two days ago an uncle of mine passed away and I cried a lot (Tuesday) in the clubhouse. So I had him with me throughout the whole game. I was thinking about him," German said. "This game is a tribute to him. He would have been so happy. It happened for him to watch it this way, from up there."
Schmidt (2-6, 4.32 ERA) hasn't seen anything close to 11 runs of support in his last six starts, during which he has gone 0-2 despite a 1.97 ERA. The Yankees scored a total of nine runs -- never more than two in any game -- in those six outings
The 27-year-old right-hander got plenty of support in a 10-5 home win over the A's on May 9, a game in which he allowed two runs in six innings. The victory improved his career record to 1-1 against the A's with a 5.23 ERA in two starts.
He will be facing an Oakland team that has lost 11 of its past 13 games.
As has often been the case amid his team's recent struggles, Oakland manager Mark Kotsay walked away from the Wednesday debacle hoping a lesson was learned by his young club.
"Offensively, our approach wasn't great. We didn't make any adjustments tonight to what he was doing," he said of German. "He was throwing his changeup and breaking ball until he had two strikes, and we hit a ton of balls to the pull side.
"That's what happens when you try to pull soft (pitches) -- you're going to hit a lot of groundballs to the pull side. Weak contact ... we didn't hit a ball hard all night.
"You tip your cap to the performance. The kid did an amazing job. We didn't do a good job of making adjustments."
Still with a chance to win the series, the A's will send James Kaprielian (2-6, 6.34 ERA) out to oppose Schmidt.
The 29-year-old right-hander has helped the A's earn three wins in his past four starts, going 2-0 with a 3.47 ERA in those outings. The Oakland offense deserves a majority of the credit for his recent success, as it put up 22 runs in those four games.
Kaprielian did not face the Yankees in the earlier series in New York. He will take a 1-1 career record and 11.48 ERA against them into clubs' final meeting of the year
The Yankees swept a three-game home series from the A's in May
--Field Level Media