A lot was on the line for Luis Severino in Game Three of the ALDS. On one hand, he had the opportunity to close out the series and send the New York Yankees to the ALCS for the second time in three seasons. On the other hand, he had the opportunity to redeem himself for past postseason blunders and bring validity to a season lost to injury.
Four shutout innings may not jump out of the box score for a starting pitcher (or maybe it does in 2019), but Severino did more than enough to secure the win for the Yankees.
Severino battled all night long. He got into jams, but he executed pitches when he needed to in order to escape.
He loaded the bases in the second inning, but got a pop out and two strike outs to escape unscathed. In the third inning, he put two men on, but struck out Mitch Garver, one of the best hitting catchers in baseball, to end the inning.
Luis Severino hit 99.1 mph in the second inning.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) October 8, 2019
The Yankees bullpen entered the game with 9.1 innings pitched in the series. In that span, they allowed two earned runs and struck out more than one batter an inning. They held hitters to a sub-.200 average, as well. They added five more innings of one-run-ball Monday night.
As a result, the Yankees did not need Severino to give them length, and given his lack of innings pitched this year, they did not want him too. They needed him to go out and shut down the Twins for as long as possible, and he gave them exactly what they needed to win the game.
Luis Severino has tremendous talent, but he has yet to put it together for a dominant stretch in the postseason. His first career postseason start, which came against the Minnesota Twins, was a disaster. After only recording one out and allowing three earned runs in the 2017 AL Wild Card game, he found himself out of the game.
His most recent postseason start before Monday came last year against the Boston Red Sox. That game was far from his best, as well. In three innings pitched, he surrendered six earned runs, and nine of the 18 men he faced reached base. Additionally, reports surfaced that Severino did not know what time that game started.
Regardless of his past, it is all behind him now.
“I don’t even remember that,” said Severino jokingly about the 2017 Wild Card game during a Sunday press conference. “That was a tough game, but that was two years ago.”
Severino went on to to reference a start he had in Minnesota last September where he pitched 5.2 innings and only allowed one run.
“That’s enough to forget about that,” said Severino.
Luis Severino has had some success in October. His seven innings of three-run ball evened the 2017 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians at two game a piece. His four-shutout-innings against the Oakland Athletics propelled the Yankees to the 2018 ALDS against the Red Sox. The issue has been his consistency. He looked to change that narrative and took huge strides toward accomplishing Monday night.
Salvaging A Lost Season
It is no secret that Luis Severino has dealt with injuries going back to Spring Training. After a long season, Monday presented an opportunity for something positive to make the struggle worth it in the end.
Severino returned to the mound to prepare for the playoffs, having missed everything from Spring Training thru mid-September.
His regular season work load consisted of 12 innings. They were impressive with 17 strikeouts and two earned runs, but not enough to make a serious impact on the 2019 season. By providing the team the start they needed to advance, he proved it was more than enough to prepare him for October.
“It’s been a long road, but right now, I feel glad that I’m here and helping my team,” said Severino after the game.
It may not have been the traditional ‘big’ moment a starting pitcher typically has, but it was a tremendous effort that salvaged a lost season, erased memories of past postseasons, and, most importantly, sent his team back to the ALCS.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images