|Did Justin Germano prove he can start for the Red Sox, or someone else?||07.07.12 at 7:58 pm ET|
In clearly what was the only bright spot of a 6-1 Game 1 loss to the Yankees in Saturday’s day-night doubleheader, Justin Germano came in and proved he wasn’t overwhelmed, overmatched or in awe of the powerful lineup that faced him in his 2012 debut for the Red Sox.
The brightest spot of the game by far was the performance of Germano, who relieved starter Franklin Morales in a two-run Yankee fourth inning that stretched the lead to 6-0. Germano finished with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, saving the Red Sox bullpen for the nightcap.
How did he do it? He went soft on the hard-hitting Yankees.
Instead of trying to blow them away with fastballs, he turned to his secondary stuff, like his changeup and curve.
“It was huge because my fastball was all over the place today,” Germano said. “My release point with the fastball kind of felt a little bit off, I was rushing it, trying to keep it down and in turn, I kept missing up, and was able to get away with some pitches up that they were still able to mishit. I was able to get away with those because I was able to throw all my off-speed pitches for strikes.”
Germano is hardly new to the majors, having pitched for the Padres from 2004-08, the Reds in 2006 and the Indians over the last two seasons. The Red Sox signed him as a minor league free agent in January.
He started the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he didn’t pout about being in the minors but rather dominated, going 9-4 with a 2.40 ERA in 16 starts and one relief appearance. He earned a spot on the International League All-Star team. He led all Triple-A pitchers with a 0.90 WHIP, tied for first in wins and was third in opponents batting average at .211.
But pitching on a regular basis in the American League East is a different matter altogether.
On Saturday, in Game 1, Germano showed he might very well deserve a shot at sticking on the roster, either as a long man or a spot starter.
“Just try to keep it close, try to limit the big innings and keep the team in there,” Germano said. ” I think it just comes down to going out there and not holding back, having faith in yourself. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to have success.
“Yeah, definitely it’s in your mind, especially that first outing. You want to go out there and make a good first impression, take it one outing at a time and hope to stick around.”
“That’s a big thing against any team, especially a fastball-hitting team like these guys are,” said pitching coach Bob McClure. “It was a very good, very good. He really commanded all three of his pitches and could get all three over at any time. It was a good job.”
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