The New York Yankees are preparing to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second game of a two-game series on Wednesday evening. Coming off of a walk-off grand slam and Aaron Judge’s 60th home run of the season, the team is flying high, and they are set to get back another integral piece to the puzzle.
After Nestor Cortes pitched five innings of one-run baseball on Tuesday, Luis Severino is slotted to get his first start since July 13 against the Cincinnati Reds. Severino had been dealing with shoulder discomfort, being placed on a 60-day injured list but has participated in several rehab games with the Yankees’ affiliate teams.
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How Luis Severino has looked this year for the Yankees:
Prior to his injury, Severino hosted a 3.45 ERA, 3.47 xFIP, 9.94 strikeouts per nine, and an 81.2% left on-base rate. Severino has pitched 86 innings this year, well above his totals from the last three seasons, which were littered with injury.
However, Sevy has a prime opportunity to lock down a starting slot in the playoff rotation, especially with Frankie Montas struggling since being acquired.
Currently, the expectation is that Gerrit Cole and Cortes will man the top two spots, but Severino has a chance to secure the third. Montas features a 6.35 ERA over 39.2 innings with the Yankees this season, seeing a big decrease in strikeout percentages and 66% left on-base rate, a 13.6% decrease compared to his time with Oakland.
It is possible the Yankees get Severino two more starts before the postseason, a good enough sample size to see if he’s up to the task. Otherwise, they can utilize him as a primary bullpen arm to help mitigate any fatigue or help carry the team through the middle innings.
One interesting stat that stands out is Severino’s dominance in the first inning of games. He hosts a 2.25 ERA over 16 innings in the first, which suggests he could be a great option out of the bullpen if the Yankees want to go that route.
However, getting an opportunity against the Pirates, a struggling team, on Wednesday is a great way to introduce him back to MLB-level talent.