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Yankees 3, Tigers 1: Domingo German and the bullpen lock down a win in frigid temperatures

Just like we all predicted, the strength of this team is in the pitching

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

I think we were all hoping for a little more offense after that annoying series loss to Baltimore. The Yankees only edged out three runs tonight against the Detroit Tigers, but it was enough to get the win, and set up a (hopefully) better series going forward.

Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner both launched solo home runs, Gary’s second in as many days. With both Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar bound for the IL, the Yankees are going to need the rest of the lineup to step up and provide some offense. Both players reached base twice tonight, showing that they may be taking up some of the offensive mantle.

The third run - though the second chronologically - came on a hilarious sequence in the bottom of the third. With Luke Voit on first, Greg Bird rapped a single into left that was misplayed terribly. Voit ran on contact with two out and managed to make it all the way home. The big man’s arms were churning furiously and he had what some might call an inelegant slide, but the run counts.

It was a little bit of a mixed bag for Domingo German in his first start of the season. Coming into the night, he was picked over Chad Green the Opener and probably pitched well enough to get a second crack in the rotation, pitching five innings of one hit ball with seven strikeouts.

German showed that commanding his fastball is still his biggest struggle, walking five including two each in the first and third inning. There’s a lot to like about the way that German pitches – he got a 20% swinging strike rate tonight! – but if he’s going to walk that many Tigers, you can only imagine the trouble he’ll run into against the Red Sox or Astros. It sounds elementary, but poor command will hurt you more than great stuff will help you.

The lone, unearned run German gave up came with two men on, on a throwing error initially charged to Sanchez. After blocking a ball well and keeping it in front, he threw down to second and Gleyber Torres completely whiffed. A clean catch would have nailed the runner headed to second. Instead, the ball ended up in center field and Christin Stewart trotted home with the Tigers’ first run. I thought the error should have gone to Torres, but Gary had a walk, home run and a 110 mph liner, and we’re not allowed to say too many nice things about him.

After that, it was all bullpen. Chad Green worked a clean inning, and gave way to Zack Britton, who gave up a double and then immediately followed it with one of the most disrespectful strikeouts I’ve ever seen:

Adam Ottavino took over the eighth and immediately walked the first two batters, but was saved by a great Aaron Judge dive:

Two more weak fly balls and the inning was over, but Judge’s catch was what really preserved the lead. Aroldis Chapman threw a perfect ninth, and the Yankees are back in the win column.

Game two is tomorrow night, and hopefully the Yankees will be able to lock up their first series win of the year, and build on that for their first sweep. At the very least, we can all go to bed happ-

Just kidding. When it rains, it pours around here. Chin up Yankee fans, they’re .500.