The 2021 MLB season could not have started off worse for the New York Yankees and starter Domingo German, who was optioned to the alternate training site after a lousy start in a losing effort to the Tampa Bay Rays back in early April.
After that, Yankees fans righty wondered if German would ever return to the dominant force he was before his season-long suspension last year.
As it turns out, however, being optioned was the best thing that could’ve happened for the 28-year-old right-hander.
Since returning to the rotation, German has been everything fans could’ve asked for, and then some, rattling off three consecutive impressive outings (all Yankees wins) heading into Sunday afternoon’s rubber match against the Nationals.
In another sign that proves he’s turned the corner, German absolutely stifled Washington’s lineup. If not for one mistake to Kyle Schwarber, who turned a meatball into a two-run blast that landed in the second deck in right field, this was easily one of the best starts of German’s career.
Better still? German is quietly proving he can give the Yankees valuable depth once the postseason rolls around.
Domingo German continued to prove he can give the Yankees rotation depth come playoff time.
That mistake will tarnish an otherwise stellar outing, but German’s continued dominance should not be glossed over. In a game the Yankees had to gave in order to clinch their fourth series win in the last five, German allowed just five hits and two runs to go with six strikeouts over 6.1 innings.
German deserved to notch his third of the year, but the Yankees were incredibly wasteful with runners in scoring position. Because of that, he had to settle for a no-decision. However, he must’ve been thrilled watching the team walk it off (for the second game in a row) in the ninth inning courtesy of Giancarlo Stanton.
Don’t look now, but German has surrendered three or fewer runs in five of his six outings this campaign. Including Sunday’s start, the Dominican Republic native has compiled a 2.61 ERA alongside 24 strikeouts and just four walks in his last four outings (24.1 innings).
Given that the game ended in thrilling fashion and capped a great homestand, it might be easy for fans to forget how immense German was to this victory.
However, he kept the Yankees within striking distance as their offense struggled to figure out Nationals starter John Ross and looks like he could offer incredible value as a depth option in the rotation once the calendar turns to October in a few months.
That’s obviously a huge if, but the last month suggests German has rediscovered the form that helped him notch a career-high 18 wins in his last full season in the bigs in 2019.