Clark Schmidt is heading in the right direction.
If in doubt, Thursday night exemplified that.
The right-hander still continued to prove more positive than negative in the Yankees’ 3-1 loss at the stadium when he faced the mighty Orioles on a night when several calls didn’t go his way.
After allowing one earned run while striking out four in the fifth inning and walking two, Schmidt said, “I feel like I’m making really good progress. Every time I get better, I learn more, I grow as a starter. I continue,” he said. Rough innings.
The performance capped off a strong May for Schmidt, who has allowed two earned runs or less in four of his last five starts.
Without home base umpire Edwin Moscoso, the start could easily have lasted longer.
Schmidt should have been out of the opening inning.
Instead, he walked Gunnar Henderson with the bases loaded.
Three pitches that caught part of the strike zone, three that would have hit Henderson.
They were all called balls.
My right arm wouldn’t allow it.
He escaped the frame by retiring Austin Hayes on a pop-up.
“Things like that will happen,” said Schmidt, who threw 97 pitches and had 65 strikes. “You have to wipe it off and move on. I hope the tide turns in 2020. When I’m outside, I try not to be affected too much.”
These extra pitches clearly didn’t help him get deeper into the game, as Schmidt threw 29 pitches in the first inning.
But manager Aaron Boone was pleased with the pitcher’s ability to complete five innings with just one run against one of the best batting lines in the American League.
“I thought he was really good against a tough line-up with really tough left-handed hitters,” Boone said. “He kept us there and gave us a chance.”
Boone also supported the pitcher’s back.
The manager was thrown out by Moscoso in the third inning for arguing for a walk and a strike.
Mr. Schmidt went out of his way to thank Mr. Boone for his support.
“We are fighting hard and it feels great to see your manager fighting for you as well,” said Schmidt. “I know he will always be rooting for us. You saw it tonight.”