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Yankees 5, Cleveland 6: Pitching digs too deep a hole to climb out of

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Domingo German’s subpar performance brought down the Yankees before they had a chance to get going

MLB: New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

I guess the best thing that can be said about tonight’s game is that I watched it outdoors, on a newly finished deck, on a beautiful summer night. The game wasn’t great, and the Yankees dropped game two of this series 6-5, but at least the atmosphere was okay.

Domingo German was ineffective at best. It seems the league, and especially veteran hitters, have figured out his shtick. The six strikeouts in four innings sounds impressive, until you remember that he only pitched four innings. The four walks and five hits didn’t help out at all, and the only real positive comes from the fact he kept the ball in the yard. His stuff in general looked flat tonight, and never gave the Yankees a chance in the game.

German was really needed in the fifth, as the Yankees had clawed back to within one run – more on the offense later. With the score 4-3, it looked like a replay of last night and the Yankees were going to come back, until German gave up a single to Michael Brantley and an RBI triple to Jose Ramirez. That was the end of Domingo’s night, and it was left to Jonathan Holder to make good out of a bad situation. He gave up an RBI single to make it 6-3, but worked the rest of the inning cleanly.

At the plate, it was a pretty frustrating night. All I can say about Shane Bieber is, my momma don’t like him and she likes everyone. I thought his breaking pitches looked pretty good, and the 3:1 K/BB ratio speaks to the quality of his stuff. The Yankees had one big inning in the fifth but it just wasn’t enough. I know that you let us down, Shane, but it’s too late to say sorry now.

Greg Bird continued his hot hitting in the last week, leading off the fifth with a double which was followed by a Miguel Andujar walk. Neil Walker then finally had a big hit, with a double that got the Yankees on the board. A wild pitch later and it was 4-2. Ironically enough, the Yankees were the beneficiary of two wild pitches tonight, the second coming in the eighth and moving Tyler Wade to third base.

All the rest of the offense was a couple of productive outs from Brett Gardner. Gardy had a sac fly in the fifth and an RBI groundout in the eighth, driving in half of the Yankees’ runs. Aaron Judge reached after being hit by a pitch in the eighth, but after an Aaron Hicks strikeout, Judge was thrown out trying to steal second. To me, it was a terrible decision to run, since the Yankees at that point are down by two runs, and the man due up was Giancarlo Stanton. Judge’s run means nothing on its own; trying to take second was a risk without enough potential reward.

As if to drive home my point, Stanton did this leading off the ninth:

As Michael Kay is wont to say, fallacy of the predetermined outcome. If Stanton had gotten a chance to hit in the eighth, there’s a very good chance he doesn’t hit a home run. But I think it illustrates the fundamental problem with Judge’s decision. The middle of the Yankee order is just too powerful to risk giving away outs on things like stolen bases. Judge took away a chance for the reigning MVP to tie the game, and that’s something he’s going to have to learn from going forward.

The Yankees have two more games before the All-Star break, and still have a good shot at winning a four-game series on the road against a playoff team. They can make good on that chance starting tomorrow, when CC Sabathia takes the mound against the team that drafted him. Tomorrow is the prime time matchup, so it’ll be on FOX at 7:15pm EDT.