There have and will be plenty of baseball purists who will slam the desks that they're sitting at and shake their fists toward nothing in particular when a scenario like Sunday afternoon happens. Through six innings, New York Yankees starter Domingo German was pitching no-hit ball during his first career MLB start while striking out nine Cleveland Indians in the process.
But with 84 pitches to his name, 23 more than the season-high he threw last week in a stellar four-inning relief appearance against the Houston Astros, manager Aaron Boone opted to pull the 25-year-old in a scoreless game.
The final three innings proved to be a high-scoring, show-stopping affair which ended with Gleyber Torres delivering his first-career walk-off home run to lift the Yankees to a 7-4 victory.
Berate Boone all you want about the decision to pull German, especially after Dellin Betances let the floodgates open in the eighth by allowing four runs, but that's how things go in today's game. Pitch counts will forever reign supreme in order to preserve arms.
What shouldn't be lost is that the Yankees suddenly have a very promising starter that could help bolster the rotation moving forward.
German was called into action for a long relief outing after Jordan Montgomery injured his elbow after throwing just seven pitches against the Astros on May 2. With the discovery that Montgomery would be out six-to-eight weeks, German got the nod and has run with it.
In his two appearances since Montgomery's exit, German hasn't given up a single run while allowing just four hits and striking out 13 in 10 innings of work. Opponents are batting .121 against him with a measly .194 on-base percentage.
While his early success could be attributed to the league just not being familiar with him, German is showing that he's been able to get batters out with a straightforward approach. He only has three pitches in his repertoire, which are all being used on a consistent and even basis.
German is throwing his fastball (96 mph average) just 36.6-percent of the time, two-percent less than his curveball (82 mph average), which is somewhat uncommon considering fastballs are generally a pitcher's predominant choice. He also has a changeup (88 mph average) that he uses at an almost 25-percent clip.
What's making him so difficult to read early on is the trajectory of his pitches. All three have track similarly in that they drift from the left side of the zone (if you're looking at home plate) to the right side. German's fastball continues to run in while the changeup travels similarly but travels eight miles-per-hour slower. Then there is the curveball that drops out of the bottom of the zone, which may one day become his go-to strikeout pitch.
His performance has all but snuffed out any sort of initial rumors that the Yankees would be interested in bringing Matt Harvey on in order to add some possible rotational depth. The cross-town Mets designated the 29-year-old, who grew up a Yankees fan and idolized Derek Jeter, for assignment on Saturday after a tumultuous six-year run.