Unfortunately, Sunday’s rubber game at Yankee Stadium quickly turned into a battle of the bullpens, won by the boys in blue despite the best efforts of Michael King, who was phenomenal for six one-hit innings.
Though this ostensibly was a cleanup effort, King’s dominance certainly overshadowed the early struggles of German, turning this into a net pitching positive overall.
When you consider the big picture, though, was this really just a bullpen-saving effort before an Orioles series? Or was it a little audition, too?
Factoring in the way the Yankees also set up their Alternate Site on Sunday, it was a bit eye-opening to see so many potential fifth starters clashing on the same day.
But first, King, who leveled up to the point of posting his breakout big-league game when it was needed most.
Yes, he was even better than you thought he was against an elite Jays lineup that pestered the Yankees all weekend (though was only held to nine runs throughout a mostly dull series).
Yankees reliever Michael King showed up Domingo German on Sunday.
To call King “dominant” doesn’t really encapsulate exactly what he brought to Sunday’s action, which was an efficient masterpiece of a “start” caddying for a pitcher who simply did not have it.
At what point, though, could the roles reverse? How many more 68-pitch shutouts, in which the first two batters reached base before the rallies ceased, can the Yankees keep in the bullpen? And how many German struggles will they be willing to tolerate?
Of course New York is nowhere close to moving on from German…but the thought has clearly crossed the team’s mind.
Look no further than the Alternate Site, where Deivi Garcia was also lined up on the same calendar cycle as German on Sunday afternoon.
So, if you’re counting, both Yankees who’d be next in line for spot starts are no coincidentally stretched out and lined up with German’s outings.
Of course, it’s no secret that German is the most vulnerable of the team’s rotation options right now. But it is telling that the plan for keeping Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon fresh is a lot of rest at proper times, and the plan for caddying for German is to have the team’s sixth starter in reserve in Scranton on the days he pitches, while the Yankees’ current long reliever shows his skills on the major league mound, too.