Who has been the ace, stopper, go-to guy and leader for the Yankees in their starting rotation? Luis Severino with a record of 14 wins and 6 losses, with almost 200 innings, 230 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.98 has CY Young worthy credentials. With numbers like that, that should make him a no brainer. He has been a big surprise to all who saw him struggle last year and now look in amazement at what a year this young power arm has had. He has been lights out dominating and has been placed at the top of the Yankee rotation now as they move into the ALDS, where they will go head to head with the overall favorite Cleveland Indians. He has more than earned the title of “Ace” with the season he has put in the books.
There is a long history of ballplayers who put-up great numbers during the long regular season, only to fail in the post season. I am not saying Severino will fail, he has only pitched in one game.
His first career post season start was painful to watch as he lasted 1/3 of an inning andgave up three runs, on two home runs. He left the game with runners at second and third and one out, as Chad Green had to come in and save the day.
When he was removed in front of 49,280 stunned fans, it could have been devastating to this young pup. The fact that his team came back to win this do or die game, was a blessing for the Yankees in more ways than one. It did not leave the young stud feeling like he let everyone down and it will allow him to put a bad outing in the past. Think of what the effect of not being able to close out his game in the 2015 World Series against the Royals may have had on Mets’ young phenom Matt Harvey. Severino will get another chance to prove himself in this post season and I believe we will see the power arm smart pitcher of the past season.
But, is he the go-to guy when the Yankees need a do or die win? Is he the guy who will stop the bleeding after they go down by two games? Is he their leader in that rotation? Are his numbers the deciding factor in placing him in the roll of “ace” in the post season playoffs?
There are a few words like “veteran” and “experience” that come into play in the post season. For me, those two words will trump the numbers in the books. There is only one person who fills that role in the Yankee rotation, and that is CC Sabathia.
The latest example was last Saturday. When the Bombers needed a win against Toronto to keep hope alive for a possible one game playoff, for the division title with the Red Sox. C.C. stepped to the mound and fired off five and two thirds innings of shutout ball with zero walks and six strikeouts.
The veteran warrior posted a won loss record of 14 and 5 with an ERA of 3.69. He has bad knees and is 37 years old. Talk about guts and knowing “how to win!” The 2 to 1 victory that day over Toronto was not needed after the Bosox won and secured the Division Championship. But it did give us a look at the value of this seasoned veteran. Over the past few years, his overpowering fastball of 95 -96 faded away and so he has had to reinvent himself and learn how use a new skill set. He did what he needed to do to win in the big leagues. He is a teammate that Severino needs to look up to.
Severino will see the former Cy Young winner face off against another former Cy Young winner and probable winner this year in Corey Kluber tonight in Cleveland.
Severino can learn from tonight’s match up. Both CC and Kluber are masters of mound presence and composure. Hopefully for all of us watching, it will be two artists painting an amazing picture. For the kid, it will be another day in the classroom.
The Yankees will need Sabathia to come up big tonight following Sonny Gray’s performance last night.
Gray did not give the Yankees the length they were looking for and once again Sabathia will have to deliver a big performance after a loss. During the regular season, the veteran left hander was 9-0 following a Yankee loss.
Severino will be and should be watching.