Yankees make big pitching change ahead of series finale against White Sox

yankees, ian hamilton
Apr 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Ian Hamilton (71) throws against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are preparing for an intriguing showdown in the final game of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox. With unexpected changes to their pitching strategy, the Yankees are exhibiting flexibility and creativity. Here’s an in-depth look at the strategy alteration.

Luis Severino’s Struggles

Initially, the Yankees intended for 29-year-old starting pitcher Luis Severino to host the game. However, Severino’s recent struggles, including a 7.74 ERA this season, a 5.13 xFIP, 7.88 strikeouts per nine, a 63.3% left-on-base rate, a 40.4% ground-ball rate, and a 21% HR/FB ratio, raised concerns.

The most alarming statistics include his career-high walk rate and the increased number of home runs per nine. Severino’s 61.2 innings this year indicate a lack of consistency, possibly signaling the end of his time with the Bombers. Despite the Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman picking up Severino’s $15 million option, the return on this investment has been disappointing for one of the few homegrown talents on the roster.

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Shaking Up the Strategy: Ian Hamilton to Open

To adapt to the situation, the Yankees have announced a strategic change for Wednesday’s game. Bullpen arm Ian Hamilton will serve as the team’s primary opener, possibly pitching around two innings. This move aims to give Severino a much-needed boost, helping the Yankees secure an early advantage.

Hamilton’s performance this year has been remarkable, boasting a 1.67 ERA, 3.09 xFIP, 11 strikeouts per nine, an 85.3% left-on-base rate, and a 54.4% ground ball rate across 37.2 innings.

From the Minnesota Twins to a Key Yankee Reliever

Hamilton’s journey to becoming one of the Yankees’ top relief pitchers has been fascinating. After a brief stint with the Minnesota Twins, he was acquired by the Yankees, where he has thrived.

Utilizing an opening arm for the first few innings can sometimes supplement poor starting performances, turning into a winning strategy.

The Yankees’ Desperate Attempt for Support

The alteration in the pitching lineup reflects the Yankees’ desperate measures to support Severino. With the rotation in chaos, the team urgently needs him to rise to the occasion.

The upcoming game against the Chicago White Sox promises to be a thrilling encounter, with the Yankees’ change in strategy putting a spotlight on their adaptability and determination to turn things around.