The Yankees were engaged in a preview for a potential matchup in the 2017 Playoffs. The other team’s pitcher outdueled their pitcher. And that’s usually the way playoff games go. But, maybe not next time or next year.
The Yankees 24-year old starter, Luis Severino, minus a few bad pitches, threw one helluva game against the Cleveland Indians last night. The trouble was, though, he was outpitched by the best pitcher in the American League right now, Corey Kluber.
It may not always be that way, though, as Severino kept his composure on the mound and, hopefully, will sit down with Gary Sanchez, Joe Girardi, and Yankees pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, today to review a handful of pitch selections that turned the game into a Yankees loss.
And in that session, Girardi may point out that when you are hitting 101 mph on the gun, why throw a changeup on your first pitch and, even worse, how could you leave it out over the plate like you did when facing Carlos Santana, a pitch he clubbed for a home run.
These are mini-lessons and the things you learn along the way, though, for Severino, who otherwise pitched as advertised, quelling the Indian’s bats on 105 of his 108 pitches over 6.2 innings, surrendering only four hits while striking out nine.
Kluber, on the other hand, totally shut down the Yankees offense, giving up only three hits over eight innings in what can only be described as a masterful performance and a prelude of what the Indians will bring to the Playoffs.
Coupled with the Red Sox come from behind win against the Toronto Blue Jays, The Yankees slipped back to 3.5 games behind their nemesis, and three games ahead in the Wild Card, as the Twins, Angels, and Orioles all won to stay crazily close to each other.
Once again, Joe Girardi juggled his batting order, allowing Todd Frazier (3B), Greg Bird (1B), and Chase Headley (DH) to all play in the same game. But a check of the box score reveals only his seven, eight, and nine batters were able to come up with a hit, as the rest of the lineup went silent.
Girardi also gave Aaron Judge the night off for (take your pick) either a head-clearing opportunity or a well-deserved rest.
A preview, not an omen
Though Mama said there’d be days like this, the game should not be seen as a portent of the series, or for that matter, the rest of the week. However, that being said, the Yankees offense will need to show up tonight as the team cannot expect a shutdown outing from their starter, Jaime Garcia (1-1, 5.47).
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Garcia has yet to give the Yankees any length in the games he has started, meaning the bullpen will be on call from the fourth inning on. The Indians counter with Trevor Bauer (13-8, 4.59), who has pitched to a 2.45 ERA in August.
You play ’em one at a time at this stage of the season. And while the rest of us can anticipate the four games with the Red Sox, the Yankees can’t afford to look ahead. Judge had his head clearing, or maybe just a well-deserved respite night off, and yes, the pressure is on for him to return as a force in the lineup.
With CC Sabathia scheduled to start Wednesday afternoon, the Yankees have a better than good chance to capture the series, but it all hinges on what they do tonight.
The piper is waiting
As a final note, the suspensions of Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine are still in limbo and timing is everything as the Yankees wait for the appeals process to run its course. The team is naturally hoping they can make it through the Red Sox series status quo.
My take is the Yankees should urge Romine to drop his appeal, serving his two-game suspension for the next two game with the Indians, leaving him available in the event, and it’s not an if, it’s a when Sanchez loses his appeal.
In either event, though, the suspensions leave the team in deep diddy-do regarding a back-up for either player, and hopefully, Brian Cashman is scanning the waiver wire every hour because there’s no help coming from the Yankees farm system, and to make matters worse, a move on the 40-man would be required.
But like they say, that’s tomorrow, and this is today. And the bat boy needs to get to the Stadium early today to shake that bat rack up because the Yankees are going to need them tonight.
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