As the Yankees head into Cleveland for a decisive Game 5, they will have their key bullpen arms at full rest.
The team can thank game 4 starter Luis Severino for that fortune. Severino went a full seven innings to earn the win Monday night, and it allowed manager Joe Girardi to use only Dellin Betances and Tommy Kahnle the rest of the way.
Girardi needed that outing from the 23-year-old who he says matured with his first postseason win.
"I told him after the game, he grew up a lot today," Girardi told NJ.com's Brendan Kuty. "He started to get tired after the six innings and it was the part of the lineup giving him trouble and he weas able to get the extra inning, which was good for our bullpen. To me, that's growing up."
The Yankees didn't have to use their best bullpen options in Game 4: Chad Green, David Robertson, and Aroldis Chapman. Along with those arms, starters Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery, and Jaime Garcia will be at full rest along with long reliever Adam Warren. If Sabathia gets in a jam early, Girardi has many options to go with.
Green, who has seen 2.1 innings this postseason, commends the starters for giving the bullpen rest the past two games.
"We've seen some of these games [this postseason] where the starter's getting knocked out in the second or third inning," Green told SI.com. "These last two starts, you couldn't ask for anything more."
Brett Gardner retierated how crucial the rest is for the bullpen heading into Game 5.
"Our bullpen's been a big strength of ours all year," Gardner said. "To be able to keep some of those guys fresh, keep them out of the game today, [Chapman] threw almost 40 pitches [Sunday], it was nice to keep him out of there. All those guys will be fresh on Wednesday."
In 24 innings this postseason, the Yankees' bullpen owns a 2.63 ERA with 11 strikeouts.