The Yankees have an ace and Domingo German is the one. And come October manager Aaron Boone should have no doubt about his right-hander starting Game 1 of the AL Division Series.
Bypass his innings pitched, the pitched counts. German pitched another 7-strong innings Tuesday night in the Bronx and tied his career high. The fastball had velocity, the curve was sharp. The changeup was thrown by an ace.
So there should be no doubts, except for the two home runs given up to the Orioles in the Yankees 8-3 win. And with the exception of the home run ball, a continued issue of this Yankees starting rotation, German goes out there every time with confidence.
And don’t let this fool you, German leads all major league pitchers in wins with 16, leading Justin Verlander of the Astros. He’s 4-0 in his last four starts, 7-0 with a 4.11 ERA in eight starts since returning from the injured list on July 3, a viable candidate now for AL CY Young Award.
But leave the awards for another day. The Yankees have an ace. They have their starter to get a pivotal and important first game win in a best of five divisional series.
Forget this was the Baltimore Orioles, clearly the worst team in baseball. The Orioles can’t wait to finish the season with the Yankees Wednesday afternoon having lost 16 of 18 games to them.
And Domingo German, he moves along. Now 8-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 10 games with nine starts at Yankee Stadium this season, all numbers and deserving to be the ace.
“ To me, “he said through a translator, “I just went out there with a positive mind and more detailed plan this time around. Looking to get ahead in the count early against those guys. I think that was the key tonight.”
Getting ahead in the count, there was no doubt about that either. German struck out seven, 65 of his 97 pitches went for strikes.
Though GM Brian Cashman has stated there may be an innings limit, German feels he is getting stronger. Manager Aaron Boone, under the so-called “Joba” rules, monitoring the innings, can only hope German stays strong and healthy at the top of his pitching rotation.
“Again, we haven’t set any hard limits on him,” Boone said. “We haven’t even honestly gotten deep into those conversations yet. We’ll probably get to a point, as we get guys back, we may alter some things.”
Meaning, the Yankees are looking at Luis Severino and his eventual return from a season long injured stint to his right shoulder. Though there is no definite date and time when we will see Severino on the mound either as a starter or throwing some innings out of the bullpen.
Boone said about German, “Honestly we feel like he’s strong right now and still has a lot left in the tank.”
The Yankees could allow German to skip a turn. That would keep the strength and reduce any concerns about an innings limit. But consistency is so important down the stretch and the worst thing that could happen is Domingo German loses that.
“I think it’s about planning and then executing,” German said.
And for the Yankees, the best plan is to have their most effective and winning pitcher be the ace. So if Boone had to appoint a first game starter in that eventual AL divisional series who would it be?
Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia? All have the tendency of inconsistency and giving up the home run ball. With the exception of two fastballs that did not locate that went for home runs, Anthony Santander in the 4th inning and to Stevie Wilerson in the 5th, German tends to keep the ball in the yard.
“He’s going to give you some innings,” catcher Austin Romine said. “He can throw anything at any time and it really seems to keep guys off balance.”
Yes, these were the Baltimore Orioles, the example of a sandlot team of Major League players on the roster. But they still have some quality players that can attack a good fastball, They could not find an answer to the one that Domingo German was throwing Tuesday night in the Bronx.
He throws strikes and gives the Yankees innings. Domingo German has earned his pinstripes to be the ace.