So much for the sweep. The only “sweep” Yankees fans got in this one was from Nick Ramirez’s “sweeper,” as the lefty came in early for mop-up duty with the Yankees down 10-0 in the fourth. He actually struck out four in a row at one point, the same number that Domingo Germán punched out in his entire disastrous outing, which comprised 3.1 innings of 10-run ball. The Yankees’ bats were equally listless though, without a hard-hit ball until the fourth and without a base hit until the sixth. Final score: 10-2, Seattle.
Germán’s quest for a bounce-back outing — he yielded seven runs in two innings his last time out — was a dud from the get-go. After catching Jarred Kelenic looking, he failed to retire the next five Mariners. His control faltered, with a 1-2 sinker leaking over the plate for a Julio Rodríguez single, a first-pitch plunking of Ty France, and another 1-2 meatball for Teoscar Hernández that he turned into an RBI single:
After starting Cal Raleigh off 3-1, Germán clawed his way back to a full count but then surrendered another hard-hit single before Eugenio Suárez added the Mariners’ first extra-base knock, a double that brought home two:
That one came off the bat at 87.9 mph, but the second-slowest hit of the inning to that point was Mike Ford’s 97.7-mph sac fly next:
José Caballero then flew out to finally end the inning. Germán’s ineffectiveness may have been thanks to fear for crew chief Phil Cuzzi, who threw out Max Scherzer earlier this year due to a sticky stuff violation; Germán, who vowed to use less rosin after his own suspension last month, had lower same spin rates on all of his pitches in this one despite slightly higher velocity. The poor control can also be attributed to a worse grip on the ball.
But the damage wasn’t done yet. Kolten Wong hit just his second barreled ball on the season — out of 93 balls in play — for a homer, his first of the year, to start the second inning off:
After retiring the next two M’s, Germán yielded another dinger, this one courtesy of France:
The Yankees decided to bite the bullet, keeping Germán in despite his ineffectiveness, saving the bullpen for a more competitive contest this weekend against mighty Texas and perhaps hoping the Mariners would be comfortable with a six-run lead. Maybe they would have been content, if not for Josh Donaldson’s error on a Ford squibber.
Suárez, who started the play on first after a walk, darted for third. Donaldson had him dead to rights but threw it behind Germán and the hurler couldn’t come up with it. All told, the third baseman received an error on the bobble and Germán received one for failing to corral the throw:
Ford was initially placed on second, but the Mariners sought to prolong our suffering, instigating a 10-minute review just to move him up one base. He scored on a sac fly next, moving the tally to 8-0. A chorus of boos rained down, directed most pointedly toward Donaldson, whom Michael Kay described as receiving “the Aaron Hicks treatment.” The half-inning finally ended when, a batter after Anthony Rizzo whiffed on a grounder, the first baseman and Donaldson connect for a groundout. Mock applause followed.
The Mariners added another next inning, because why not. Hernández crushed this one into Monument Park:
Then, they figured, why not add one more? The second half of the back-to-back came courtesy of Raleigh:
The YES announcers posited that the Yankees were just trying to get Germán through the inning at this point, so he wouldn’t be furiously booed coming off the mound. Instead, he forced their hand with that second homer, ending his night. He allowed 10 runs (eight earned) on eight hits, including the four homers. He allowed 10 hard-hit (95+ mph exit velocity) balls on the night.
The Yankees, meanwhile, didn’t have their first hard-hit ball until the fourth and their first base hit until the sixth. If you like good pitching and/or are a masochist, you probably at least enjoyed Bryan Woo’s performance. The rookie demonstrated good life on his four-seamer, sitting in the mid-90s and topping out at 97 mph with above-average carry, notching eight whiffs on 40 offerings in the process — an excellent rate for his primary fastball. The Yankees averaged just a 73.6-mph exit velocity on seven balls in play off of his sinker as well, which showcased above-average arm-side run.
A mildly amusing note was at least added late in the meaningless stages of this game. Utilityman Isiah Kiner-Falefa took the mound for the third time this year and notched his first career strikeout against Suárez:
putting the K in IKF, baby! pic.twitter.com/DN3fsCQq3V— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) June 23, 2023
Then in the last of the ninth, IKF went deep to end the shutout while technically becoming the first Yankees pitcher to homer since Lindy McDaniel in 1972 — the year before the designated hitter was introduced. Eat your heart out, Shohei Ohtani.
Aside from the bullpen’s performance and late-game IKF heroics, one big positive in all of this was that Rizzo took some good hacks. He rocketed one into the right field stands that was just foul in addition to a long single off the top of the wall in the sixth.
The Yankees will need to get the first baseman going to hold their own in Judge’s absence. They’ll continue their quest to do so against another, tougher AL West foe, the Rangers, next. That series is scheduled to begin tomorrow night at 7:05 pm ET, with Clarke Schmidt facing off against Jacob deGrom’s replacement, the surprising Dane Dunning.