After falling into last place in the AL East, and giving everyone from Hunts Point to North Riverdale a real scare, the New York Yankees have gone on a little heater to open the month. At 10-6 overall in May games, and 7-3 in their last 10, the Bombers have gotten some key players back from injuries and started the crawl out of the cellar.
With Luis Severino slated to come off the Injured List this weekend, things couldn’t look rosier in the Bronx. However, not to be out done by the Fickle Finger of Fate, Domingo German has been accused of cheating, subsequently suspended, and will rob an already depleted pitching staff of some pretty valuable innings. Another compounded consequence of German’s May 16 game ejection for an illegal, grip-enhancing, substance which was described by umpire James Hoye as “the stickiest I’ve ever felt,” is the injury to reliever Ian Hamilton.
While it’s tough to pin Hamilton’s injury directly on German’s ejection, Hamilton was brought into the game cold, and German was warned by this same umpire crew a week or so ago, so, honestly, he’s in a pot of hot water already … so why not?
Ian Hamilton has been a revelation for the Yankees this season. A so-so middle reliever who came up in 2018 and underwhelmed with the White Sox and Twins, he signed a one-year deal with New York this offseason. After a pretty impressive spring, Hamilton was added to the New York roster in early April and has filled an essential role since. Appearing in 16 games, Hamilton has thrown to a 1.23 ERA while striking out 30 batters in 22 innings, against just three earned runs allowed.
Along with Michael King, Clay Holmes, and Wandy Peralta, they make up one of the better back ends in baseball, but his injury will tax this bullpen. Ron Marinaccio will probably pick up more innings, and he has not looked the same this year. After coming up last summer and allowing 10 earned runs with two homers in 44 innings pitched, he has matched that this year in just 19 innings. His fastball appears to be a bit slower, but it’s his changeup that has been the problem. The velocity is down nearly a full mile per hour, the Whiff% has gone from 40.9 to 25, and the Put away% has gone from 33 to 17.5, while the batting average against has risen from .141 to .214.
Losing Ian Hamilton for a couple of weeks doesn’t necessarily sink New York’s season, especially if Marinaccio can step up. There is still a summer’s worth of baseball left to play, but being seven games out of first, in such a competitive division, with injuries piling up on the pitching staff, doesn’t really feel good either. The hope here is that Hamilton returns healthy, German comes back and can be effective without the stickiest substance known to mankind on his fingers, and maybe, just maybe Carlos Rodon? Will he ever pitch? It might help.