Domingo German’s failure stuns Aaron Boone, irks fans; New Yankees arm impresses

A dejected Yankees starter Domingo German against the Guardians on April 10, 2023.
John Allen
Tuesday April 11, 2023

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CLEVELAND — Domingo German was certainly not the starter the Yankees manager and fans were expecting on Monday. The Yankees right-hander had control problems that were out of character. He walked five batters and only lasted three-plus innings at Progressive Field.

After the game, the Yankees starter looked at the group of reporters with a blank expression and couldn’t say anything about how badly he did.

“I can’t give you a specific answer why,” German said. “It’s a terrible outcome.”

The Yankees lost to the Guardians by a score of 3-2 in the opening game of their series. The Bronx Bombers scored twice in the top of the first, but they would not score again in the game. They missed out on many chances. Shane Bieber, the best pitcher for Cleveland, was in trouble early on, but he made it through all seven innings. And the Yankees couldn’t figure out how to get through.

With a score of 6-4 after the loss, they are tied for second place in the American League East with the Toronto Blue Jays. The 10-0 Rays are the best team in their division.

Dominigo German’s faltering start

The Yankees thought that German and right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt would be up to the challenge of filling in for Luis Severino and Carlos Rodón. However, they haven’t done it yet. German walked five batters in three dull innings, which tied his career high, against the Guardians. He didn’t have much stuff that made batters swing and miss. It was the shortest start of the year for any Yankees starter.

German struggled to hit his spots. Only three innings in, he had already walked five and struck out none. He gave up two hits and two runs (one of which was unearned) before being taken out of the game in the fourth inning when his pitch count reached 87. A rally for the Guardians began after Andres Gimenez’s attempted drag-bunt was botched by German in the bottom of the inning.

In total, nine Guardians were walked by the Yankees. Because of how poorly he pitched, in two starts German has given the Yankees a 5.87 ERA and only 7 2/3 innings. Schmidt hasn’t done better either. In his two starts, he has a 9.45 ERA and has only gone 6 2/3 innings. Rodon and Severino aren’t close to coming back, though the latter pitched a successful bullpen session on Monday.

German blew the Yankees lead

The Yankees were ahead 2-0 after four batters, but they didn’t do enough to take advantage. In the second, German helped the Guardians get on the board.

Everyone thought the Yankees starting pitcher to have had an easy play when Andres Gimenez popped up a bunt. However, he made an error. Gimenez stole second and advanced to third on a groundout to first by Josh Bell. Will Brennan hit a liner to left, and Cordero might have made a play for Gimenez at the plate with a solid throw, but he didn’t come close, and the Guardians closed the gap to 2-1.

The Guardians tied the score in the fourth, forcing German to leave the game. To begin the inning, he walked Bell and Brennan before Mike Zunino doubled past the third base bag.

The way German pitched it left Yankees manager Aaron Boone stunned.

“He’s such a strike thrower,” Boone said. “That’s as much as almost anyone on our staff really. It’s usually him filling up the strike zone.”

Germán was his own worst opponent with walks and errors. Yet, given the Yankees’ lack of starting pitching depth, they will have to continue to rely on him and Schmidt.

New pitcher impresses

To the rescue came the Yankees’ newest bullpen acquisition, Colten Brewer, a righty acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash on Opening Day and added to the team’s 26-man roster. Brewer threw three shutout innings. With runners on second and third, Brewer came back from a four-pitch walk to his first batter to get a force out at home and then a double play to end the rally.

 Colten Brewer of the New York Yankees

Colten Brewer walked No. 9 batter Myles Straw on four pitches to load the bases in his second inning. Brewer threw scoreless fifth and sixth innings to finish with three shutout innings on 28 pitches and a walk and single. Brewer went on to provide a significant boost for the Yankees, earning nine fast outs on 28 pitches to bridge the gap to the seventh inning. But the walking parade resumed when Ian Hamilton took the mound.

“That’s about as tough a spot you can come into,” Boone said.

Brewer hasn’t allowed a run in either of his starts this season. Is this a significant opportunity for Brewer?

“That’s based on me,” said Brewer, who has pitched in parts of four MLB seasons. “I have to pitch my way to every opportunity, and every opportunity is earned in this game.”

“Good to see him give us some real quality innings in the middle when we needed it,” manager Aaron Boone said.

On Opening Day, the Yankees acquired Brewer from the Rays in exchange for cash.

Fans slam German

The Yankees got out of the inning without any more runs scoring, but Domingo German’s lack of innings puts a big weight on the bullpen. Clark Schmidt’s problems have had the same effect. So far this season, neither German nor Clarke Schmidt has been able to pitch long into games. German’s performance infuriated fans.

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