Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, when faced with choosing his starting pitcher for Tuesday’s Wild Card shootout against the Twins, decided to go with Luis Severino. He couldn’t have made a better choice and here’s why.
Joe Girardi has expressed his displeasure with the one-game do or die format that rears its ugly head Tuesday night at Yankees Stadium when the Yankees will host the Minnesota Twins to decide which team goes on to play in the ALDS.
Severino has been the most consistent starter on the Yankees staff this season, compiling a record of 14-6 with an ERA of only 2.98, which in the DHing American League is a feat almost unheard.
Oddly, his turnaround this season began with time he spent during the offseason with Boston’s Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez. His advice to Severino was simple. You’ve got the best stuff in the league, making you the boss. Stand tall and throw strikes.
And if you’ve watched Severino over the course of his starts this year, he not only throws strikes, he throws them at 97-98MPH consistently, rarely hitting the middle of the plate. His demeanor and body language on the mound suggests to the hitter, “Here it comes, let’s see if you can hit it”.
It’s all about confidence, and Severino has it
Pitching in the big leagues begins and ends with confidence and the trail is long in baseball history with names of guys who had “the best stuff”, but couldn’t get hitters out consistently. Severino has that confidence, and you can tell by his habit of getting the ball back from his catcher with his foot on the rubber waiting for the game to catch up to him.
Girardi’s choice of Severino was by no means easy. Beginning with Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka, who today just struck out fifteen Blue Jays in a Yankees victory this afternoon, to CC Sabathia, the “old man” on the staff who had one his best seasons as a Yankees, Girardi, nevertheless, did not appear to hesitate when he picked a 23-year old pitch the most important game of the season.
Severino can, and most likely will, deliver the six innings the Yankees need to build up a lead against a pesky and underrated Minnesota Twins team.
From there, Girardi will have his bullpen closers lined up beginning with David Robertson in the seventh, Dellin Betances in the eight, and finally Aroldis Chapman to close out the game.
The Yankees have this one
That’s the way it’s written on paper and we all know the game will be decided when it’s played on the field. But the one thing, if anything, this season has proven is that the Yankees win when they have to win.
Their lineup, from top to bottom, can crush a team from one to nine and on any given day, the opposition doesn’t know which Yankee will rise to the occasion on a particular day.
In our next post, we’ll talk more about the explosiveness of the Yankees lineup, and what we can expect from Joe Girardi when he presents the lineup card at home plate Tuesday night.