The Yankees tapped Luis Severino to be their Game 3 starter in Monday night's ALDS matchup with the Twins, despite the fact that he's only pitched in three games this season.
Severino came back to the Yankees in September after missing nearly the entire season due to injury, but he's been pitching well since returning to the rotation. Through three games, he's pitched 12 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits, while also walking six batters and striking out 17.
Aaron Boone's decision to put Severino on the mound this early may stem in part due to Domingo German's sudden removal from the team this past month, but also from the fact that Severino has helped the Yankees in the playoffs before.
But, even though he has the experience and was at one point was the ace for New York in the past, Severino has struggled to be a consistent starter in his six appearances.
His ERA currently sits at 6.26 after allowing 16 earned runs off 22 hits in 23.0 innings pitched. This includes the 2017 AL Wild Card against the Twins, where Severino lasted just 0.1 innings...allowing 3 earned runs--including 2 home runs-- off four hits.
That was certainly a game to be forgotten, and Severino jokingly said that he already had Sunday afternoon during a press conference on the Yankees' day off before Game 3.
What does Luis Severino remember about the 2017 Wild Card game?- Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) October 6, 2019
"I don't even remember that" 🤣 pic.twitter.com/p1habDbix2
That was Severino's first time pitching in the postseason, so it isn't crazy to think it was just extreme playoff debut nerves that set off the bad performance in 2017. In fact, he was solid in his very next outing, pitching 7.0 innings in Game 4 of the 2017 ALDS, throwing identical numbers to his first game, but this time with nine strikeouts under his belt, as well.
Severino appeared in two games against the Astros in that year's ALCS, allowing just one earned run off two hits, with zero strikeouts and two walks in 4.0 innings pitched in Game 2, and another three earned runs that came from three hits and three walks.
In last season's AL Wild Card game against the Athletics, Severino was much cleaner, throwing 4.0 innings for zero earned runs and two hits in a game that saw the Yankees once again advance to the ALDS.
And that brings us to where things get sticky again for Severino, who allowed six earned runs off seven hits in 3.0 innings of pitching to the eventual World Series Champion Red Sox.
But, like any pitcher who has to throw deep into the postseason, fatigue can become an issue...but that's where Severino's long absence--and rest time--may come as an advantage.
"I think I'm at my best. I got three outings before this, so that's regularly what I do in spring training before I head into the season, so I think that's good enough for me to be at my best," Severino said at Sunday's press conference.
He's started well out the gate during what's been the beginning to his season, so we may be in store for a fresh and ready right-hander Monday night.