It’s become obvious that the New York Yankees can’t afford to let Luis Severino can’t start the AL Wild Card game.
With the 2018 regular season coming to a close, it is looking more and more likely that the New York Yankees are not catching the Boston Red Sox. Instead, they will play in the American League Wild Card game on Oct. 3. It is also looking likely that the Yankees will be squaring off in that game against the Oakland Athletics.
While those factors are evolving, there is still one big question mark: who will be the starting pitcher in that game for the Yankees?
After Wednesday night’s 8-2 loss in Oakland, it is quite clear who it can no longer be.
In the important rubber game of a three-game set in the Bay Area, Severino lasted just 2.2 innings and allowed six runs, five of which were earned, on six hits.
Severino has not been the same pitcher in the second half of the season. Since the All-Star break, Severino has gone 3-5 with a 6.95 earned run average in nine games started.
While his three previous starts have looked decent on paper, fans could tell Severino still wasn’t the same. He got the win in each game, but just didn’t dominate like he did earlier this season. In those starts, he faced the Toronto Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers. All of those teams have records under .500.
This most recent start against the A’s was arguably Severino’s biggest test this season and unfortunately, he failed. The game felt like a must watch for fans.
It was the deciding game in a series against the team the Yankees are likely to meet in early October. Severino, who had been seemingly starting to work his way back to dominance, was going to be on the mound. It was supposed to be a playoff preview.
Instead, viewers tuned in to see a blowout and learned that Severino just isn’t going to be the guy for the Wild Card.
When it comes to the Wild Card, there are two names that should be on the Yankees short list.
J.A. Happ and Masahiro Tanaka.
Happ has been nothing short of stellar since coming to the Yankees before the trade deadline. Happ is 5-0 as a Yankee with a 3.10 ERA. His most recent start against Oakland solidified what he can do against good teams.
Tanaka continued his solid play in his last start against the Tigers, going seven innings and only allowing one run on seven hits. Since the All-Star break, he has gone 3-3 in eight starts but has a 2.66 ERA. This paired with his heroics last postseason makes Tanaka one of the top options for the Wild Card.
Fans should not just outright dismiss or disown Luis Severino. Had Severino not had the first half he did, perhaps they wouldn’t be one of the top teams in baseball. Severino has done a lot of good for the team and has been their ace for the last two seasons.
However, he is struggling and could hurt the team in an elimination game. He should not just be awarded the start for all the good he has done in the past. The start needs to go to someone else who will give the Yankees the best possible chance to win. After this start in Oakland though, it’s safe to say that this year it can’t be Severino.