Luis Severino, who allowed five runs in 4.1 innings in his return to the rotation on Tuesday in Boston against the Red Sox, was sent back to Triple-A Scranton to work on his change-up and other pitches on Wednesday. He is only 22, but likely deserved to stay in the rotation because the Red Sox have one of the best offenses in baseball.
Severino had previously made three appearances out of the bullpen before coming back to the rotation after Ivan Nova was traded. In his three games out of the bullpen, Severino threw 8.1 innings, only allowed one hit, not allowing an earned run to go along with 10 strikeouts and three walks. Based on those stats out of the bullpen he deserved to show what he could do as a starter again, but the Yankees were not impressed with his pitch selection.
This is what Joe Girardi had to say about Severino’s performance after the game:
“When we watched last night’s start, his fastball command was not great, his slider was somewhat inconsistent – and granted, he’s facing a really difficult lineup – and he didn’t throw many changeups,” Joe Girardi said. “We really want to finish him off. I think to get through lineups a third time, which you want all your pitchers to be able to do, a kid with stuff like that, you need to have a third pitch.”
In Severino’s 10 starts with the RailRiders between May 13 and July 27, he had a very good 3.25 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, seven wins, a .223 batting average against, 57 strikeouts, and 15 walks in 63.2 innings. He allowed only two runs in three of his last five starts before being called back up to the Yankees, which included a six-inning start where he allowed two runs, five hits and struck out an impressive 11 batters in his start July 20.
When he goes back to the RailRiders he will need to work on his fastball command and make his slider much more consistent. He will also need to get more confident in throwing his changeup as he only threw two or three. If he can improve his change and have more confidence in it that will allow him to have a third pitch he can rely on.
Severino did say after the game that he used to have more confidence in his change.
“I’m not throwing it a lot because I don’t have the same confidence I had two years ago,” Severino said. “I have to figure it out and come back. It’s difficult to be a starter with two pitches, so I have to work.”
He will likely be brought back up to the Yankees once rosters expand on September 1, and will look to be able to have the dominance as a starter that he had in the last two months of last season. He proved that he can have a lot of success against major league hitters in his 11 starts last season, but he will now need to prove he can again as the rest of the league now has more of a scouting report on him.
From the beginning of August until the beginning of October (11 starts), Severino had an excellent 2.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 22 walks and 56 strikeouts in 62.1 innings. He allowed two runs or less in eight of his 11 starts. He also struck out five batters or more in seven of his 11 starts.
His main weakness was that he walked six batters or more in six of his starts. He was able to prevent those walks from doing too much damage as he allowed less than three runs in three of those starts, but walks usually have a way of hurting a pitcher. Severino had much better control when he pitched for the RailRiders earlier this season as he allowed one or zero walks in five of his last six starts.
It seems like it would have made more sense to have Severino work through his pitch selection and improve his secondary pitches with the Yankees he is one of the young players that the Yankees want to evaluate. Sending Severino back down to Triple-A would have made more sense if the Yankees were facing the Tampa Bay Rays, who have scored the second fewest runs in the AL (454), but the Red Sox lead the league in runs scored with 603.
Another reason that this move doesn’t make sense is that Chad Green or whoever replaces Severino is not the pitcher that Severino is. However, if he is able to feel more comfortable relying on his change, improve his fastball command and make his slider more consistent in the next 2.5 weeks, then it would have been a very productive time spent in Triple-A.
Based on how Severino performs the rest of the season the Yankees will know what they have in him and if he makes more sense in the future as a relief pitcher or starter. Even though he has allowed more than three runs in five of his eight starts this season, he still has his 11 starts from last season, and can prove in September that he can be a productive starting pitcher going forward if he can make some adjustments.
The win that the Yankees had on Saturday afternoon was one that Brian Cashman envisioned when he traded for Aroldis Chapman in the offseason. Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox was the first time that the flame-throwing trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Chapman all pitched in a game and they lived up to their potential.
Chapman’s first game active this season was May 9 after being suspended for 30 games due to domestic violence, and Saturday was the first game when Joe Girardi thought it made sense to use all three given the score and that each of the three were rested. Betances came into the game in the sixth after Ivan Nova walked Todd Frazier with two outs and then pitched 1.1 innings while striking out every batter he faced, Miller only allowed a single in the eighth inning and Chapman struck out two of the three batters he faced while getting his second save as a Yankee.
“We knew these would be the type of games that we would use all three of them, and that if we could line them up, it’d be pretty good,” Girardi said.
In total, Betances, Miller and Chapman pitched 3.1 innings while allowing only one hit, no walks and they combined to strikeout eight of the 11 batters that they faced. The most fearsome trio in baseball could not have been any better and all three will likely be available for Sunday’s game, when the Yankees will try for the third consecutive series win.
Dellin Betances has three more strikeouts (32, 2.20 ERA) than any other reliever in the American League, Miller has a near flawless 0.61 ERA and has only six fewer strikeouts than Betances and Chapman’s 116 strikeouts were tied for the 45th most in the National League last season and were 25 more than any other relief pitcher in the NL. Chapman also threw 77 of the 77 fastest pitches in Major League Baseball last season, which proves how much faster he throws than every other pitcher.
Nathan Eovaldi threw a 101.6 mph fastball last season and Chapman was able to actually throw 77 fastballs that were faster. He overpowers hitters with his fastball and catches them off guard with his slider that can be 13 or 14 mph slower than his fastball.
Nova had his second consecutive dominant start since replacing CC Sabathia in the rotation, who went on the disabled list due to a strained left groin on May 6. In Saturday afternoon’s game, Nova pitched 5.2 innings, gave up only four hits and only allowed Todd Frazier’s solo homer to left in the fourth inning. He is still getting stretched out after pitching in the bullpen before May 9, but was able to throw 48 of his 74 pitches for strikes. Nova’s sinker was really working on Saturday since 12 of the 17 outs that he recorded were via the groundout.
Nova only allowed one run in 4.2 innings in his start on May 9 and should be able to stay in the rotation for at least a few more starts. Luis Severino went on the 15-day disabled list with a right triceps strain after his start on Friday. He will likely need more than the required 15 days and he hasn’t been anything like the pitcher he was during the last two months of last season anyway.
Severino, who is 22 and made his big league debut last August, made 11 starts from the beginning of August through the end of September last season and had an impressive 2.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a 2.0 Wins Above Replacement. However, possibly partly due to his triceps strain, this season he has a 7.46 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, eight homers allowed and a -0.7 Wins Above Replacement in seven starts. It might make sense for him to throw a few starts at Triple-A before coming off of the DL.
The Yankees did all of their scoring in the second inning. Aaron Hicks continued his improvement on offense as he was 1-3 and had an RBI double in the second. In the last seven days, Hicks has a .333 average (8-24) with one homer, two doubles, four RBIs and five runs scored. He has raised his average from .122 to .210 in the last seven days and is playing like the player that the Yankees thought they were getting when they traded for him in the offseason.
Didi Gregorius’s RBI single in the second that scored Hicks ended up being the winning run for the Yankees. Gregorius was 3-3 during the afternoon and the bottom third of the order had all five of the team’s hits. Gregorius has six RBIs in his last four games, which are as many as he had in his previous 17 games combined.
It is a positive sign that the Yankees have been getting more production from the bottom of the lineup recently. The Yankees will have a dangerous offense when the top, middle and bottom of the order are locked in at the same time.
Jose Quintana has been one of the best pitchers in the American League as he only has a 1.54 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in eight starts this season, but the Yankees were able to do just enough to even the series.
Masahiro Tanaka will get the start in the series finale and will look to get the team a series win against the first place team in the AL Central. Chase Headley will get the day off at third and will be replaced by Ronald Torreyes and Dustin Ackley will get the start in right with Hicks getting rest.
The Yankees announced on Sunday that Luis Severino, who allowed more than two earned runs in only three of his 11 starts during his rookie season last year, will get the start during the team’s first spring training game on Wednesday at home against the Detroit Tigers. The game will begin at 1:05 p.m. at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
After Severino, Ivan Nova will get the start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday and Bryan Mitchell will be the starter for the Yankees during Friday’s road game against the Tigers. This has nothing to do with the rotation that will begin the season and just has to do with when the various starters are ready to pitch in a game.
Severino threw a live batting practice on Friday, Mitchell threw a bullpen on Saturday and Nova threw live batting practice on Sunday. This is why they are the first three to pitch in games. Severino is slatted to be one of the five starters after his impressive final two months of the season after being called up, and Nova and Mitchell will likely be relievers in the bullpen.
Joe Girardi does not know yet who will start a game after Nova because Michael Pineda is the only one that has thrown a live batting practice so far. Based on the pattern outlined above, this could mean that Pineda will start the fourth spring training game. Girardi did add that Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka will throw a live batting practice soon.
“It’s more just determining when exactly we think that they’re ready to go,” Girardi said. “The other guys should start throwing BPs pretty soon, and then that will get them close.”
Severino finished last season with a very impressive 2.89 ERA in his 11 starts. He also had a solid 1.20 ERA with 56 strikeouts, 22 walks and a 2.0 WAR. The 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic recorded a season-high of nine strikeouts against the powerful Blue Jays lineup on August 16 and struck out five or more batters in seven of his 11 starts.
He is an important piece of the rotation because he had a lot of success last season and he is the only one who does not have an injury question mark. The Yankees were basically forced to call him up based Pineda going on the disabled list and Severino’s dominance at Triple-A Scranton. Severino can be favorably compared to Yordano Ventura based on his size and pitch repertoire.
Pineda went on the disabled list on July 30 with a strained flexor muscle in his right forearm. He would return to the rotation on August 26, and he ended up pitching worse after coming off of the DL (he allowed four runs or more in five of eight starts) than he had in the first four months of the season.
He finished the season with a 4.37 ERA, 156 strikeouts and only 21 walks, but he is capable of finishing this season with a much better ERA based on his overpowering stuff and pinpoint control. The highlight of his season was when he struck out a career-high 16 batters in seven innings while not walking anyone in seven innings against the Baltimore Orioles on May 10. Pineda will have to prove this season that he can stay healthy the whole season after spending time on the DL last season and the season before.
According to Brooks Baseball, Severino primarily threw a four-seam fastball (96 mph) and slider (90 mph) while also mixing in an effective changeup (89 mph).
“His fourseam fastball generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers and has well above average velo. His slider is thrown extremely hard and generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sliders. His change is thrown extremely hard and has slight armside fade.”
Severino will need to continue utilize his change because he will need to be able to throw his three pitches in any count since other teams will have more of a scouting report on him. If he can come close to duplicating the success he had last season after facing teams for a second and third time he will be a very valuable member of the rotation and he definitely has the stuff to do so.
Unless there is an injury during spring training the starting rotation is pretty much set for the Yankees. It’s not known what order the rotation will be, but the five starters in the rotation will most likely be Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nate Eovaldi, CC Sabathia and Luis Severino. There are some injury question marks with three of those five starters, but that rotation has the potential to be a very reliable one if they all stay healthy and pitch how they are capable of.
Severino is the wild card of the five and the one who might have the most upside. The 21-year-old Dominican, who was the team’s #1 prospect after the 2014 season according to Baseball America, made his major-league debut on August 5 and in his 11 starts he had a 2.89 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 56 strikeouts. He only allowed more than two earned runs in three of his 11 starts and if he can pitch with that kind of effectiveness for the majority of the 2016 season, after other teams have more of a scouting report on him, the rotation could be better than it was last season.
Ivan Nova, who had a below average 5.07 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in his 17 starts last season, recently avoided salary arbitration by signing a one-year, $4.1 million contract. The 29-year-old righthander will be headed to the bullpen due to the emergence of Severino. He is an intriguing option as a long-reliever and sixth inning option before the flame-throwing trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.
Nova made four starts in April of 2014 before having to leave his start on April 19 with an elbow injury that led to him needing Tommy John surgery. He had a 8.27 ERA in those four starts and hasn’t been able to perform like he did in the 2013 season. In the 2013 season, Nova showed what he is capable of as he had an impressive 3.10 ERA in 23 games (20 starts) to go along with two shutouts and a career-low 1.28 WHIP.
Last season Nova proved that he can still be productive since he had six starts where he pitched five innings or more and allowed less than three runs. He is far too inconsistent to start games consistently this season, but based on the ability he showed at times last season it would make sense for him to be the top candidate to make a spot start.
Relievers only need two pitches that they can count on to be successful, which makes Nova an ideal candidate for the bullpen. Nova has 12-6 curveball that can be un-hittable at times and a slider that he throws between 85-89mph that can be also be a strikeout pitch for him when it is on. If Nova is restricted to one or two innings besides occasional spot starts then his pitches should be more reliable than they have been the last two seasons as a starter.
The Yankees bullpen likely will be the most dominant backend of a bullpen of all-time because of the last two seasons that Chapman, Betances and Miller have had. However, the bullpen will need depth and Nova can provide another quality pitcher with experience that Joe Girardi can have pitch in the sixth or seventh inning when one of the “Big Three” need a day off.
Chapman, who has been an All-Star in each of the last four seasons and throws the fastest fastball in baseball, will likely be suspended to begin the season because of his serious domestic abuse allegations. The league could suspend him under its new domestic violence policy. According to John Heyman, the league might not have enough evidence to give him a long suspension.
Other pitchers who will likely come north with the Yankees after spring training are Branden Pinder, Chasen Shreve, James Pazos and Bryan Mitchell. Pazos, Shreve and Pinder are all pitchers who had success last season and are used to pitching in the bullpen but they don’t nearly have the experience of pitching in the big leagues that Nova does.
After clinching a spot in the wild card game on Thursday against the Red Sox and having their game against the Orioles rained out on Friday, the Yankees will play a double header in Baltimore today. The Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-1 on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium and with the win they snapped their two-year postseason drought. The Yankees also won their 10,000th game in franchise history after previously losing three games in a row.
The Yankees were an underdog coming into the season since some predicted them to finish in last place, which makes this postseason appearance especially meaningful.
“This was really rewarding because I’ve had a chance to be on a lot of teams that have made the postseason fortunately and this one was probably as much of a grind as any one,” Joe Girardi said. “This one, there was probably as much uncertainty even on a daily basis. There were a lot, a lot of moving parts, so I think this was probably as rewarding as any club that I’ve been on that made the playoffs.”
Thursday’s postseason clinching win was made more significant because it was at home and it came over the Red Sox. The Yankees had lost four of their previous six home games and it was great for the players on the team that they were able to get this win in front of their home fans and be able to celebrate in their stadium.
The Yankees currently have a 2.5 game lead over the Houston Astros for the first wild card spot with three games to play, which means that it is almost a guarantee that the wild card game will be played at Yankee Stadium. Houston has a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the second wild card and the Minnesota Twins are a game behind the Angels. It will be a better matchup for the Yankees if they play the Angels in the wild card game because the Astros ace, Dallas Keuchel, has a 2.48 ERA this season and did not allow a run in his two starts against the Yankees.
Joe Girardi is prioritizing resting his regulars during today’s double header over putting his best players on the field in Game 1 to try to clinch home-field in the wild card game. However, if the Yankees do get a win against the Orioles, who are not playing for anything, they will clinch home-field in the wild card game.
Austin Romine will make his first career start at first base, Jose Pirela will play right field giving Carlos Beltran the game off, John Ryan Murphy will get his second consecutive start at catcher and Brendan Ryan will play shortstop instead of Didi Gregorius.
Murphy gave an epic interview during the Yankees post game celebration on Thursday. He has hit very well for a back-up catcher this season and in his last four games he is 4-13 (.308) with one run scored and one double. It can be hard for back-up catchers to hit for a high average because they usually get inconsistent at-bats.
Rookie Rob Refsnyder has also hit very well recently while getting increased playing time at second. In his six starts during the home-stand, Refsnyder had eight hits in 20 at-bats (.400) with one runs scored, one homer, one steal, two RBIs and two doubles. He will likely get the start in the wild card game, against Keuchel if they play the Astros, based on his performance in those six games.
Girardi announced that Ivan Nova will start today’s game at 12:05 p.m. and that Luis Severino will start the second game, but that could change if the Yankees secure home field advantage before the second game starts. Michael Pineda will get the start on Sunday.
Brett Gardner CF
Rob Refsnyder 2B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Chris Young LF
Chase Headley 3B
John Ryan Murphy C
Jose Pirela RF
Austin Romine 1B
Brendan Ryan SS
The Yankees, who remained at 9,999 wins in franchise history after last night’s game against the Red Sox, lost a 5-1 game to the Boston Red Sox in the first game of their series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are 3.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros for the first wild-card spot with six games left to play, and their playoff probability is currently 99.9 percent.
The Yankees trail the Toronto Blue Jays by five games, and the reason the Yankees will not win the division is that since the start of play on July 29th, the Blue Jays are 41-14 and have a run differential of an outstanding +129.
Offense is key for any team to win games and the Yankees offense struggled for the fifth time in their last six games. They have now scored three runs or less in five of their last six games and have scored two runs or less in four of those games. They are 3-3 in those six games.
“You’re going to have hot streaks and cold streaks. Right now we feel like we are battling. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to put good innings together,” Carlos Beltran said. “Today was a day where we faced a guy who was pitching well.”
The Yankees were 0-7 with runners in scoring position, which makes it hard to win a game. Their only run came off of an Alex Rodriguez sacrifice fly that scored Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning. Greg Bird struck out with runners on first and second to end the first inning, Brett Gardner flied out to right with Rob Refsnyder on second to end the fourth inning and Gardner struck out on a 94 mph fastball with Refsnyder on second and John Ryan Murphy on third to end the game.
The one positive offensively was that Refsnyder was 1-4 and now has one or more hits in every game that he has started this month (four). He has recently been playing second against lefties and Dustin Ackley has been the second baseman against righties. Refsnyder has five hits in his last 13 at-bats (.385) with one double, which is a sign that he is showing his skills on offense.
“I think we need to do a better job against left handers,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s something we need to do a better job at. We struggled offensively this weekend against lefties. It’s is a kid that has swung well against left handers in the past (Refsnyder).”
Ivan Nova allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in seven innings pitched, but looked about as good as he has this season in the first five innings of the game. He did not allow a run before the sixth inning and only allowed three hits in that span. However, Nova was yet another Yankee pitcher whose effectiveness got worse in the sixth inning.
Nova had a good breaking ball but the homers off of him came on fastballs that didn’t sink. Travis Shaw blasted a homer to right that drove in Xander Bogaerts in the sixth inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a homer just above the Canon sign in left field that bounced back into the field in the seventh inning.
After taking Nova out of the game after the seventh inning, Girardi used five relief pitchers to get the final six outs of the game. After recording the first two outs of the ninth, Caleb Cathem gave up a solo homer to Deven Marrero, which was Marrero’s first career round tripper. Fellow rookie Nick Rumbelow got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to Didi Gregorius at shortstop to end the top of the ninth.
Michael Pineda will get the start for the Yankees in Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night and will try to make sure the Yankees don’t lose any ground to the Astros. Pineda only allowed one run in six innings and struck out six in his previous start and in his last two starts combined he has pitched 11.1 innings, allowed only one run, recorded 10 strikeouts and only one walk.
Masahiro Tanaka is on track to pitch the wild card game, but either Tanaka or Luis Severino should pitch Game 1 of the American League Division Series if the Yankees win the one-game playoff.
The Yankees (72-57) wrapped up a 3-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves with their 20-6 win on Sunday afternoon. In the three game series at Turner Field against the Braves, who have scored the fewest runs in all of baseball, the Yankees scored 38 runs and Atlanta scored only 11 runs. Even though the Yankees were facing one of the worst teams in the league, this was a much needed offensive outburst for the Bronx Bombers because they had only scored 16 runs in their previous six games.
In Sunday’s win, three 2-out homers gave the Yankees their first seven runs of the game. Jacoby Ellsbury’s three-run homer in the second inning scored Stephen Drew and Nathan Eovaldi, Chase Headley homered to center to score Greg Bird in the third and then Drew hit a homer that scored Didi Gregorius later in the inning.
Eovaldi had his worst start in his last 10 as he allowed five runs in five innings pitched but did record seven strikeouts and won his 14th game of the season. There had been only one game in his previous nine starts that he had given up more than three earned runs, so he was due for a start that was not up to par. Part of the reason that he has 14 runs and only two losses is that Drew Hutchison is the only pitcher in the American League who has had more run support than him this season, but Eovaldi has had much better command of his pitches, in particular his splitter, since allowing eight runs in less than an inning to the Marlins on June 16.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 38-11 margin that the Yankees outscored the Braves during this series is the largest margin in any series this season. Bird scored on a bases loaded walk in the fifth and then the Yankees sealed the win in the seventh inning as they scored nine runs. In the seventh, the Yankees batted around as Headley scored twice in the inning. The Yankees had eight hits in the inning, six different players drove in one or more runs and it took the Braves three different pitchers to get out of the inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Bird, Headley, Gregorius and Drew all had multi-hit games for the Yankees. Drew, who was 4-4 with three runs scored, four RBIs and a homer, finished the game with his average above .200 (.201) for the first time all season. The Yankees did what they needed to do in sweeping the rebuilding Braves, but they were unfortunately not able to gain any ground in the AL East because the Toronto Blue Jays also swept their weekend series. The Yankees trail the Blue Jays by 1.5 games heading into their series opener on Monday at Fenway Park against the Red Sox.
“It’s been a while since we swung the bats like this, so hopefully we can set the tone for September,” Alex Rodriguez said.
The Yankees will still not have Mark Teixeira‘s bat in the lineup during this series because he has been sent back to New York for further testing on his injured right leg. Teixeira, who leads the Yankees with his 31 homers, has not played in 10 of the team’s last 12 games after fouling a ball of his leg on August 17. Bird is the team’s first baseman with Teixeira out of the lineup and he has a .255 average, a .339 on-base percentage, two homers and 10 RBIs in his 16 games played.
CC Sabathia, who went on the 15-day disabled list on August 24 with a sore arthritic right knee, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Monday. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said today in Boston that he sees Sabathia as a starter when he returns.
Ivan Nova will start tonight’s game against the last place Red Sox. Boston is 10 games below .500 and 14 games behind the Blue Jays in the AL East. However, the Red Sox have won three of their last four games.
Nova allowed seven runs in four innings in his previous start, which means that he will need to have better command of his pitches tonight than he did against the Astros. Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka will start the second and third games of the series.