Luis Severino tends to look like either the best starter in the game — or the worst — with little room in between. When he is on top of his game, he is flat-out dominant — and his statistics bear that out, as can be seen at Baseball Reference. Similarly, those same statistics show that when he is off, his performance varies wildly, and he then tends to not get much game time beyond the first three innings. Severino has also had some serious struggles since the All-Star break, which is why not everyone on Twitter is convinced that Severino is the right man for a do-or-die playoff game.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has decided to go with Severino barely 24 hours prior to the start of the 2018 AL Wild Card game, over lefty J.A. Happ and righty Masahiro Tanaka. Over his last 13 starts, Severino is 5-6 with a 5.69 ERA. His last three outings have been better, but many still worry about his inconsistency. He’s still finishing the year off at 19-8, but 14 of those wins came before the midsummer classic.
On Twitter, fans and analysts alike are both saying thatt hey understand why Severino looks like a good pick — but they often hedge that bet by pointing out that Happ has pitched exponentially better against the A’s so far this season. Severino has given up six earned runs in two and two-thirds of an inning against Oakland. Happ, on the other hand, gave up an earned run on two hits over six innings against Oakland, per Baseball Reference. Fans are pointing out that this is nor an insignificant spread.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone is betting big that Yankees are getting first half Luis Severino. If Severino bombs there will be lots of questions of why the Yankees did not start JA Happ. https://t.co/lP2augIWTZ— andrew kaczynski???? (@KFILE) October 2, 2018
Many fans are also expressing excitement over Severino pitching. Fans want him — their ace — to go out and to be brilliant. They still remember his ERA of 81.00 in last year’s wild card game — in which he was knocked out in the first inning — but they also remember a pair of solid starts in the ALDS and ALCS where he went 1-1, per NJ Advance Media.
Just in case things go south for Severino again, Boone is carrying 10 pitchers, including starters Lance Lynn, Tanaka, and Happ. CC Sabathia will be off the roster for the game. Severino is saying that he is ready to win and that he has put last year behind him. The fans that buy this narrative seem to outweigh those who don’t right now, but the closer the game gets the more that this sentiment might change.
Even former Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was hedging his bets, spinning a story that has Severino going two or three innings, then having the bullpen take over. With the Yankees carrying four starters, a case could be made that Boone is thinking along the same lines — or it could be that Teixeira knows something that regular fans don’t.
Although Happ and Tanaka have pitched better the last two months of the season, I get why @Yankees are going with Severino in #WildCard. He can throw his 100MPH fastball and wipeout slider for 2-3 innings and then hand it over to the bullpen.— Mark Teixeira (@teixeiramark25) October 2, 2018
Whatever Boone has in mind for Severino, it will be something of a spectacle to watch. Even amongst fans that feel Severino is a poor choice for the game, many of them express confidence that the Yankees can still win. The 2018 AL Wild Card game will take place at Yankee Stadium, October 3, 2018.