Things looked bleak for the New York Yankees after starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery lasted just seven pitches on Tuesday night before leaving his outing due to an elbow injury against the Houston Astros.
Against one of the best-balanced lineups in baseball, manager Aaron Boone was forced to turn to his bullpen to try and shut down one of the best-balanced lineups in baseball for the long haul.
It could have very well been a recipe for disaster as he first called upon Domingo German, a 25-year-old right-hander who had made just 11 major-league appearances in his career.
In four previous outings this season, German didn't look like anything special, allowing six runs over 10.1 innings of work, a 5.23 ERA, with six walks to go with 14 strikeouts.
Yet Boone was rewarded for his move as German dazzled in Houston, going four scoreless innings, allowing four hits while striking out another four in the process. It allowed the Yankees to get to the heart of their bullpen as Chad Green, Dellin Betances, David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman pitched an inning each to shut the Astros out in a 4-0 victory.
German exhibited a fastball and slider that averaged around 96 miles per hour, the variation of movements at the same velocity proving problematic for Houston hitters. Of his 61 pitches, 39 of them were strikes.
"I just put on my starter mentality," German said (h/t Bryan Hoch). "I started warming up as if I was to start the game and I was just attacking hitters and trying to get ahead. I think that was the key."
That starter mentality might just earn him a temporary spot in the Yankees starting rotation as Boone admitted after the game that German could slot in for Montgomery on Sunday against the Cleveland Indians if the elbow issue requires a trip to the disabled list. Montgomery is expected to undergo tests on the elbow Wednesday.