On Wednesday afternoon, the New York Yankees announced starting pitcher Domingo German will miss the rest of the season. Later we learned German had voluntarily submitted to inpatient treatment for alcohol abuse and would be placed on the restricted list.
Along with everyone else, we hope he gets the help he needs. This isn't the first time his career has been impacted by alcohol. Back in 2020, German was suspended 81 games after a domestic violence incident that occurred while he was intoxicated. The Yankees opted to retain him after his suspension.
German's early exit -- and the reason for it -- clinches his 2023 campaign as one of the craziest seasons in MLB history. I don't think I've ever seen something quite like it in sports. He was simultaneously brilliant and horrible on the mound, was suspended for cheating, then had his season ended in early August by alcohol abuse. What follows is a brief recap.
To open the season, the 30-year-old righty had an up-and-down April. In five starts he went 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA, but he did strike out 33 batters in 26 innings. He also allowed 10 runs over his last two starts to the Blue Jays and Twins respectively, and surrendered seven home runs in the month. It's worth noting, German was having a really good start on April 15, shutting down the Twins through a few innings. But during a between-innings check, he was told to go wash his hands because the umpire felt a sticky substance. He did, and the game continued. Keep that in mind.
German opened May well and appeared to have turned things around. He had lowered his ERA to 3.75 and was perfect through three innings during a May 16 start against the Blue Jays, but there might have been a reason for it. After again being checked by umpires, German was ejected for using an illegal substance on his hand. MLB suspended him for 10 games. He did not appeal.
German bounced back to start off June. He was dominant against the Dodgers on June 4, allowing one run on four hits in 6.2 innings. He followed that up by allowing a run on six hits over six innings against the Red Sox. At that point he was 4-3 and had lowered his season ERA to 3.49. Then things got weird.
German got lit up by Boston on June 16. He allowed seven runs on seven hits in two innings as the Sox went on to win 15-5. His next start was even worse. Against the Seattle Mariners he allowed 10 runs and eight hits in 3.1 innings, while giving up four home runs. He fell to 4-5 on the season and his ERA ballooned to 5.10. His season was going off the rails. Guess what happened next?
On June 28 against the Oakland Athletics, Domingo German -- he of the aforementioned 5.10 ERA -- threw the 24th perfect game in MLB history. He did it on only 99 pitches and struck out nine along the way. It was a staggering performance. No one knew quite what to think about it. It was MLB's first perfect game in more than a decade. Despite that mind-boggling performance, German's ERA in June was 5.67.
In the five starts since he threw the perfect game, German is 0-2 with a 4.61 ERA. He just simply couldn't maintain anywhere near that level of excellence. Now he's done for the season for personal reasons.He will finish the 2023 campaign with a 5-7 record, a 4.56 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and 104 strikeouts against 34 walks in 108.2 innings.
German is a wildly talented guy who has major issues with consistency on the mound, and personal demons off of it. The 2023 season was a perfect illustration of his career. The wild swings back and forth were incredibly difficult to watch.