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How will the Yankees manage Domingo German?

Raise your hand if you thought that on May 22 Domingo German would be the Yankees best starting pitcher. Now raise your hand if you thought that on May 22 Domingo German would lead the league in wins. I’m assuming none of you raised your hand, and if you did, you’re a liar.

On the most recent episode of The Bronx Pinstripes Show, we answered a mailbag question from listener Troy, asking if German seems to fade quicker than other starting pitchers and if the Yankees will consider using an opener for him. While we dismissed the opener like Mike Francesa discards another Jason Giambi call, the rest of the question raised some interesting points.

Does Domingo fade quickly?

Last night German tossed 5 innings vs the Orioles and gave up three runs. By Game Score, it was his third-worst outing of the season. In the clip above, we break down German’s average start, which is 6 innings and about 90 pitches, as well as his effectiveness each time through the order.

Times Facing Opponent:

First: 81 batters faced, .473 OPS
Second: 81 batters faced, .457 OPS
Third: 54 batters faced, .872 OPS

Pitch Count:

1-25: .095 BA, .343 OPS
26-50: .182 BA, .475 OPS
51-75: .264 BA, .719 OPS
76-100: .242 BA, .771 OPS

As you can see, German is uninhabitable the first two times through a lineup and up to about 50-pitches. That is pretty common for most pitchers. There aren’t many Justin Verlanders out there, who maintains (and sometimes even becomes more unhittable) as the game goes on. Luis Severino is another pitcher who we praised for maintaining his “stuff” deep into the game, often touching 100-mph on his 100th pitch.

German is like most starting pitchers who fade as they go deeper into games. With the Yankees bullpen, 5-6 innings is all they ask of starters and that is exactly how deep German has been going. He has pitched into the 7th inning three times, and finished the 7th only once — that start came last week in the second game of a double header, and had it been a regular outing I don’t think Boone would have pushed him through the inning. The Yankees not pushing German does bring up another important question, however.

Will the Yankees manage his innings?

This is the biggest question with German moving forward. On the season he’s thrown 55.1 innings. His career high for one year is 123.1, and that came in 2014. Last year he threw 93.2 and was shut down with ulnaritis in August.

The Yankees have not outlined a plan for German yet but I’d bet anything that they are working on one. Last night they took an opportunity in a blowout game to save an inning and some pitches on German’s arm, but a more serious limit on his workload will probably come later in the summer. I don’t see them allowing German to exceed his innings career high, which came five years ago, by very much. That makes the health of James Paxton and Severino even more important (if that’s even possible), because the Yankees cannot afford to shut down German without reinforcements in the rotation.


Follow me on Twitter: @Andrew_Rotondi