Professional baseball games on Tuesday and Wednesday night could not have gone differently for a pair of Major League pitchers who belong to a pair of AL East rivals.
Sent to the rookie-level Florida Complex League for a start on Tuesday after failing to get out of the first inning in a start for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Houston Astros earlier this month, 2022 All-Star and American League Cy Young finalist Alek Manoah was knocked around for 11 runs in 2⅔ innings. Manoah, 25, surrendered a pair of home runs to two players under the age of 20 in his outing.
“We’re not expecting him to go throw a perfect game just because it’s the minor leagues. You don’t know what to expect. You’re just hoping the things you are working on are being accomplished and for the most part today they were,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said Tuesday, according to the Toronto Sun. “It’s tough, especially for a pitcher. When you’re at this level. You’re really focused on game plans and execution. When you are throwing to guys you don’t know, you lean on things you are working on.”
Speaking of perfect games, the following night New York Yankees starter Domingo Germán retired 27 straight hitters to record just the 24th perfect game in MLB history. (It was also an 11-0 Yankees win over the pathetic Oakland Athletics.) Germán’s 99-pitch gem, which included nine strikeouts, came just one start after Germán allowed 10 runs against the Seattle Mariners in three innings. In the start before that, the 30-year-old lasted just two innings and gave up seven runs to the Red Sox.
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Winless in six previous outings against the A’s, who have the worst record in the majors at 21-61, Germán went to three balls in a count on a batter just twice. He completed his feat in two hours and 30 minutes with 12,479 fans watching.
“So exciting,” Germán said through a translator. “When you think about something very unique in baseball, not many people have an opportunity to pitch a perfect game. To accomplish something like this in my career is something that I’m going to remember forever.”
Germán’s immaculate nine-inning performance on the mound is the first since ex-Mariners ace Félix Hernández threw the 23rd perfect game in baseball history, in August of 2012 against the Tampa Bay Rays. A former Cy Young winner (2010), King Felix was a far better pitcher than Germán will ever be, but now they’re both members of an elite club that already includes a trio of former Yankees: Don Larsen (1956), David Cone (1998) and David Wells (1999). Maybe Manoah will be the next inductee once he gets back to the majors.