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SportsColumnistsAnthony Rieber

Six innings, no hits, 84 pitches and Domingo German gets pulled? That’s baseball now

Domingo German takes the field for the sixth

Domingo German takes the field for the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Getty Images / Jim McIsaac

A few generations ago, when cable TV was first introduced, people couldn’t believe “they” wanted you to pay for TV when it had always been free.

Now that’s the way it is.

A generation ago, people used to fill up a cup from the tap to drink water. People couldn’t believe “they” wanted you to pay for water in a plastic bottle.

Now that’s the way it is.

So that’s the answer to those who vehemently disagree with Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s decision to take out Domingo German after six innings on Sunday even though he was pitching a no-hitter.

Now that’s the way it is.

You can shake your head and pound your fist and even vent on Twitter about “soft” modern athletes, but the toothpaste is out of the tube. It’s not going back in.

You can’t even really call what Boone did a “decision.” A decision implies debate. A decision implies there was a chance it was going to go the other way. This was done the second German walked off the mound with a fist pump after striking out Jason Kipnis to end the sixth.

“It was an easy call to take him out,” Boone said after the Yankees’ 7-4 victory.

There was no way Boone was going to let German stay in the game after the 25-year-old threw 84 pitches in his first big-league start. German’s previous 2018 high pitch total was the 61 he threw in relief of an injured Jordan Montgomery on Tuesday in Houston.

German pitched four shutout innings against the defending World Series champs. That qualified him as the first man up to replace Montgomery, who is expected to miss two months with a left elbow strain.

The Yankees appear to be lacking in rotation depth, which is what prompted the immediate speculation that Matt Harvey’s next destination could be the Bronx. But instead of signing a 29-year-old with a suspect arm and even more suspect makeup, the Yankees would prefer to run through their stable of good, young arms first.

And boy, did German display a good, young arm on Sunday. If he had any jitters, they were not apparent. The righthander featured a 95-mph-plus fastball, an 87-mph changeup and an 81-mph slider that acted like a curve. He had command and control of all three above-average offerings.

The Indians didn’t have a baserunner until Jose Ramirez walked on four pitches with two outs in the fourth. German struck out Michael Brantley to end the inning.

German walked Edwin Encarnacion to open the fifth but struck out the next two batters before Gleyber Torres made the second of two rangy plays in short rightfield to take a hit away from Tyler Naquin.

The Yankees didn’t get their first hit against Mike Clevinger until Aaron Hicks singled to center leading off the fifth. They didn’t get their second until after the Indians took a 4-0 lead in the eighth against Dellin Betances and Jonathan Holder.

Betances had thrown a perfect seventh to keep the no-hitter going. With Chad Green and David Robertson unavailable, Boone tried to squeeze a second inning out of him. But Yonder Alonso led off the eighth with Cleveland’s first hit, and three more hits (and four runs) followed.

The Yankees came back with three runs in the eighth and four in the ninth, the last three coming on Torres’ walk-off home run. The postgame celebration focused on Torres, the top prospect who is living up to all the billing. And because the Yankees won in dramatic fashion, Boone’s call on German became a footnote.

We know some of you are still stewing about it today. You may even be right. You can take that feeling to the bank when you pay your cable bill.

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