While Luis Severino’s performance for the New York Yankees was less than ideal, it still doesn’t warrant all the concerns expressed by fans.
Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game was one for the ages. Fans were treated to a slugfest between the visiting Minnesota Twins and the hometown New York Yankees. After nearly four hours of baseball and a back-and-forth game, the Yankees came out on top by a score of 8-4.
There were many takeaways from this game, including Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner’s clutch power, Greg Bird’s continued timely hitting, the stellar bullpen living up to all the hype and impressive postseason debuts for rookie right fielder Aaron Judge and second-year catcher Gary Sanchez. All of that culminated with the Yankees winning their first playoff game since the 2012 American League Divisional Series.
However, another takeaway was that one Baby Bomber did not have a great postseason debut; that would be the night’s starting pitcher, 23-year-old Luis Severino.
Severino failed to escape the first inning in his first-ever playoff game, allowing three earned runs on four hits (two of which were home runs), walking one and striking out zero all in .1 inning pitched. This less-than-desirable start to the do-or-die game forced manager Joe Girardi to turn to his bullpen early to get the final 26 outs.
Thankfully, for both Severino and the Yankees as a whole, those previously mentioned stars came out and picked up the 23-year-old ace.
In the aftermath of this disastrous start, it seems some Yankee fans have decided to give up on their young flamethrower this year. The fans at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night booed him right out of the Bronx. Many went to Twitter or other social media platforms saying they don’t trust him in big games and wouldn’t have even started him in this game had they had Girardi’s power.
It’s time for all Yankee fans to take a collective breath and realize it isn’t even close to the time to give up on Severino in 2017.
The first point that has to be made is the most obvious: Severino is just a 23-year-old who had absolutely no experience in a situation this big. While this may just sound like an excuse for him, it can’t be ignored.
Playoff baseball is an entirely different monster than the regular season and has an added weight to it. This game was do-or-die—win and you’re in, lose and you go home. That is a whole lot to throw at a kid whose rotation spot was in question during Spring Training. But that’s how you learn. This is how experience is built and he will learn from the dismal 29-pitch outing.
The other big point fans need to consider is that the matchup was not quite in Severino’s favor. The Twins came in hot and are arguably one of the best fastball-hitting teams in all of baseball. Severino’s best pitch is his fastball. Something was going to give.
Again, this sounds like an excuse for him, but it isn’t. He was thrown into a situation where his best was something the other team thrived on. Just look at Severino’s numbers in his last regular season outing against the Twins on Sept. 20. He allowed three runs on five hits (not giving up any home runs here at least), walking one and only striking out three. This almost should have been a sign for what to expect from Severino facing this team. But again, it provides a learning situation for the young righty, who is likely to be in big games down the road.
Severino has shown the promise and potential to be the Yanks’ ace for many years to come. However, he is still young and is going to need to be given confidence by those around him. One bad start should not be held against him. Severino needs to get the ball against the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS and needs to prove to himself, the organization and the fans that the 2017 Wild Card Game was just a hiccup at the start of a long, successful career.
But for now, everybody just has to wait for what Girardi decides and how the early parts of the series play out.