BALTIMORE – Put Domingo German’s stats – 9-1 record, 2.60 ERA through May 21 – next to Luis Severino’s name and pretend that Severino hasn’t thrown an inning this year.Anyone in Yankees Universe would’ve been thrilled by that performance, from their ace, on a first-place club.The reality is, Severino isn’t expected to return until just after the All-Star break, due to a shoulder issue that somehow turned into a Grade 2 lat strain that has kept him sidelined all season.German, 26, has learned how to harness his three plus-pitches and he’s become the most reliable arm in a rotation that has boosted the injury-plagued Yankees’ pennant hopes.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone on the Yankees' 11-4 win at Baltimore Pete Caldera, Staff Writer, @pcaldera
But there’s also a looming innings-watch on German, something to be mindful of as the season progresses.German threw just 96 professional innings last year, and he’s already at 55.1 innings in 2019 after Tuesday’s five-inning start, an 11-4 Yankees win over the Orioles at Camden Yards.When they'll be back: Yankees injury list: Tracking when the players will returnAs a pro, German has topped out at 123.1 innings, as a minor leaguer in 2014. That was followed by Tommy John surgery.The Yankees have acknowledged German’s innings as something to monitor, without getting specific on how they plan to limit him (or not) as summer approaches.Tuesday provided an easy call, with the Yanks out to a nine-run lead against the woeful Orioles.Story continues below gallery.
In a five-inning start, German now has an MLB-leading nine wins, and he extended his personal winning streak to six straight starts dating to April 23.He was coming off a win against the Orioles last Wednesday in the second game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.German wasn’t at his best on Tuesday, though he pitched out of a third-inning jam, retiring Rio Ruiz on a grounder to strand the bases loaded.And his own throwing error, needlessly rushing on a potential double play ball, set up Stevie Wilkerson’s three-run homer in the fifth.While he "felt pretty good'' overall, German admitted via interpreter that those were "two innings where I battled.''He'd also missed location on a fastball to Wilkerson, trying to go outside; the ball cut back in.By then, German was working with a huge lead; nine runs were charged to Oriole starter David Hess (1-6) on eight hits and four walks.
"The focus is to get the job done,'' said German, who worked on channeling his energy from start to start, pitch to pitch, all winter. And in subbing for the likes of Severino in the rotation, German said he feels similar to a pinch-hitter who has been given an opportunity, and then hitting his way into the starting lineup."I look at it the same way,'' German said.Tuesday’s blowout lead was also a chance to get D.J. LeMahieu – with another three hits on Tuesday – out of the lineup to catch some rest.“Turned into a half-day off,’’ said manager Aaron Boone, who said that LeMahieu was fine after fouling a pitch off his foot; that instance did not influence the decision to remove him for Thairo Estrada in the Baltimore sixth.