Domingo German returned to the mound for the Yankees on Wednesday night, and his first pitch didn't find Gary Sanchez' glove. It found the bullpen in right center field for a leadoff homer by Jeff McNeil, one of the Mets' All-Stars.
Luckily for the Yanks, it wasn't an omen as German cruised from that point on.
The righty, coming off an IL stint for a hip flexor strain, allowed just that one run on five hits while striking out six and walking none over six innings of work. The performance was everything manager Aaron Boone wanted to see from German's return.
"Stuff, tempo, command, everything," Boone told The Post's Joel Sherman. "That was kind of the good dominant version of Domingo we saw the first couple of months of the season."
That's the German the Yankees hope to see after his hiatus. in his first 10 games with the club this season, he looked great with a 2.60 ERA over 55.1 innings. He also had 57 strikeouts to 16 walks, as German was the team's top starter at one point. But then he started to fall off. His previous three outings before hitting the IL saw a 8.59 ERA and seven homers allowed.
Last night was a good sign that his ailment isn't affecting him anymore.
"For him to come off the IL and pitch six really good innings and probably could hve gone more, really, really impressive," DJ LeMahieu, who had two doubles in the game, said about German. "Just like he's been doing all year."
German's outing didn't just have the Yankees smiling in approval, but it also likely brought up a question: Should he be trusted come playoffs?
It is no secret GM Brian Cashman is searching for a pitcher on the market before the trade deadline -- he's publicly acknowledged that fact. Hurlers like Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler, for example, could be on the trade block, and Cashman will be front and center to evaluate potential trade packages to land rotation help.
And even if German begins to show signs that he is back to himself from the beginning of the season, it shouldn't change Cashman's stance on adding another starter. While this is what the Yankees envisioned of German in the Majors, his inconsistency over his career shouldn't be overlooked. The Yankees are obvious favorites for the World Series this season, and all the reinforcement they can get will go a long way.
This isn't a knock on German, but rather playing it safe. If German is lights out in the second half, maybe the Yankees consider him in a Game 3 or Game 4 situation. If that isn't the case, German could be a vital piece out of the bullpen -- an area he has shown success in the past.
As the Yankees hope for a resurgence from German takes place, adding a starter should stay at the top of the priority list this month.