Luis Severino and Dellin Betances still haven’t pitched this season due to injuries and each of them has suffered multiple setbacks during the rehab process. However, the Yankees still expect them both to return at some point during the second half.
The Yankees enter play today with the best record in the American League and the second-best in baseball and they’ve done it without two of their top pitchers from a season ago. For the past two seasons, Severino has been the ace of the Yankees starting staff while Betances has been their top reliever since 2014.
Even with their 57-29 record, the Yanks miss them a ton and if they’re going to make a run at #28 this October they’re going to need them back for the stretch run. Aaron Boone and GM Brian Cashman continue to say that the right-handers will pitch for the team this season but after they’re latest setbacks, I don’t think it would surprise anyone at this point if they didn’t.
Betances suffered a right shoulder impingement during spring training and on June 11th he was shut down from throwing with a low-grade lat strain. On Wednesday Boone announced that Dellin is 90% healed and could resume throwing in another 7 to 10 days. As for Sevy, he started the season on the IL with right rotator cuff inflammation and in early April an MRI revealed a grade 2 lat strain of his own which shut him down for six weeks.
He resumed throwing three weeks ago and was getting set to throw off a mound but last week he had another setback when he experienced soreness in his lat. He’s been shut down ever since but Boone said he could start throwing again at some point next week. Cashman admitted with hindsight that Sevy probably should’ve gotten another MRI weeks ago before he resumed his throwing program, but he still expects him to pitch this season.
Given their recent setbacks I think the Yankees now have to start internally thinking about the possibility that neither Betances or Severino will pitch this season. If that were the case which pitcher would they miss more from here on out?
They’d both obviously be missed tremendously but considering all the question marks surrounding the Yankee rotation I’d have to go with Sevy. It’s no secret that the Yanks will look to add another front line starting pitcher to their staff before next month’s deadline but if a healthy Severino could come back in August he’d probably be a better addition than anyone they could acquire in a trade.
When he’s right he’s one of the top starters in all of baseball as he proved over the last two seasons. He’s a legitimate ace and the Yankees might need one to lead the way if they’re going to win another championship. That being said I still believe if their offense continues to dominate and the bullpen is lights out they can win as currently constructed. However, we’ve all seen great offenses get handled by better pitching in October so getting Sevy back in time for the playoffs could be the move that puts them over the top.
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Even though I think getting Betances back wouldn’t be as big of a game changer we all know the Yanks are going to need him. Right now they can easily win their division and earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs without him but come October he’d have a huge role to play.
Down the stretch last season and during the playoffs Dellin was without a doubt the Yanks best reliever after he had a miserable run in 2017. Entering this postseason the Yanks have a ton of power arms capable of shutting down the opposition but it remains to be seen how many of them can handle the pressure of October other than Aroldis Chapman.
There’s no such thing as having too many relievers when you’re in the postseason especially one of Betances’ caliber and if he returns he’d be welcomed back as the primary setup man for Chapman.
If Sevy ends up not coming back or if the Yanks don’t add another impact starter before the deadline it’s even more crucial that Dellin comes back and returns to his pre-injury form. Adding him to the mix would give the Aaron Boone another veteran reliever he can trust and the Yankees a bullpen that can truly carry them in the playoffs.