Where does Luis Severino fit in the ALDS rotation?

Update: CC Sabathia will pitch game two and Masahiro Tanaka will have the ball for game three. Luis Severino has reportedly been penciled in to start game four of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium if necessary. He will not be used out of the bullpen.
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While a less than ideal start to the Yankee’s wild card game occurred on Tuesday, the young group managed to pull together and get the job done to advance to the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately, Luis Severino was the reason for the rough start, and now presents the Yankees with more questions than answers for their ace.
Photo Credit: Kathy Willens | AP

Severino only managed one out in his first playoff game, and surrendered two home runs to quickly silence the crowd in the Bronx. He simply did not have his best stuff on the mound, getting behind in counts and leaving his pitches up in the zone. Outside of Joe Mauer’s foul out to third base, and the one walk surrendered, the Twins were locked in on Severino and hit him hard. He didn’t seem to have his normal command of his pitches, and thankfully Joe Girardi decided to pull him in the first with runners on second and third. Normally, I would have said that Girardi should have let him work out of his jam, but the way the Twins were hitting Severino and the lack of command, it very easily was looking to be five or more runs if he was left in. Chad Green was called in from the bullpen and took care of business, striking out two to end the threat. The bullpen continued its dominance and helped piece together 8.2 innings to seal the win for the Yankees.

While the easiest scapegoat for Severino’s disappointing outing is that it was “postseason jitters”, it did seem like that played a factor in some of it. Severino came out and fired a 100-mph fastball for his first pitch, now while he is known to throw heat like that, it looked like a clear adrenaline “real back and throw” type of pitch. His following pitches failed to locate properly and then the wheels fell off.

All that being said, there are a couple silver linings in this. First would be that he only threw 29 pitches, which is almost the equivalent of a bullpen session to keep starters fresh. There would be no reason to think that couldn’t be ready to go in any game of the ALDS, since he shouldn’t need much rest. Second would be that he now has the “postseason experience” out of the way. Albeit it was the worst possible “experience” that there could be (unless he doesn't even get one out), he now knows what it’s like to take the mound in October.  He should be able to manage his emotions better the next time he is out there.

Photo Credit: Kathy Willens | AP

So now the question becomes, how should Girardi manage the rotation with Severino? I feel that the best move for him would be to slot Severino as the number two starter in the series. Having him as the number two starter would put him up against Corey Kluber, the potential AL Cy Young, a matchup that has happened before and one in which Severino performed admirably. Even with that matchup being a rough one, I think Severino is hungry to prove himself after such a miserable outing, and will come back with a vengeance. Taking out Tuesday night’s start he has been excellent of late, surrendering three or less runs in 11 of his last 14 outings. If your guy is going to go out there and hold the opponent to three runs or less, that puts your team in a great position. With the explosive bats the Yankees have (on full display last night) putting up four or more runs to win shouldn’t be a tall task. By using Severino as the second starter, it also opens the door to pitch him in game five as well. Being able to throw your ace in two games of a series is a huge advantage. Obviously, he has to pitch like the guy we’ve seen all year, but I have full confidence that he will. He is extremely motivated after such a lousy start, and he has the talent to go out there and get his team a win.

Article by: AJ Welch

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