The Yankees are still fighting to secure the best record in baseball, but that won’t stop them from getting their starting rotation ready for October.
Domingo German has exceed all reasonable expectations for the Yankees this season. He’s been so good this year that his spot in Aaron Boone’s postseason rotation is already locked up. That’s why the organization is already taking concrete steps to get German ready for October.
Specifically, the front office is already working to limit the right-hander’s workload down the stretch. It’s possible that German won’t start another regular season game this season. On Wednesday, he’s going to be assigned as the first reliever behind CC Sabathia as the veteran southpaw returns from the Injured List.
German has already blown past his career high for innings pitched as a professional. He’s already thrown 136.2 innings for the Yankees this year. That’s well past the 85.2 Major League innings he threw in 2018. At times he’s looked like a legitimate ace for Boone and his coaching staff. At worst, he’s been a consistent presence in a rotation that’s desperately searched for stability during most of the regular season.
If the Yankees want to receive the same contributions from German during the postseason they need to give him some much-needed rest between now and the beginning of the playoffs. Simply shutting him down entirely might run the risk of him losing his rhythm down the stretch. Using him as a reliever in controlled situations is a much more nuanced solution to this age-old problem. German can still get regular work out of the bullpen as a partner for other pitchers who are trying to build up their arms in advance of the playoffs.
It’s safe to expect for German to continue to be used in this role as long as the Yankees can make it work. With pitchers like Luis Severino and possibly Jordan Montgomery also set for their returns from long injury layoffs, there should be plenty more opportunities for German to serve as partners for other returning starters.
Yankees fans should expect to see the organization continue to prioritize getting their stars ready for the playoffs over all else until the postseason begins. German’s move to the bullpen might be the first and most obvious move, but it won’t be the last.