The New York Yankees‘ bullpen has felt barren for weeks, especially in the wake of Jonathan Loaisiga’s shoulder injury.
But now, as the Yanks prepare for a Wild Card Game they might not get a chance to participate in, there’s hope.
In just a few days’ time, the Yankees have gone from lacking depth entirely and having next-to-no recourse in the middle innings to potentially having three multi-inning weapons in the heart of the ‘pen.
Luis Severino returned after nearly two years on the shelf Monday night, and as the Bombers’ 4-0 lead disappeared, so did his chance of re-debuting in a blowout. Sevy will get a chance to strut his stuff soon, though, at which point he’ll join a resurgent Michael King in a potential piggyback role.
According to Aaron Boone, Domingo German seems likely to follow this week.
Yankees ace Luis Severino has given the NYY a multi-inning weapon … maybe.
Of course, our expectations are also tempered. Severino hasn’t appeared in a big-league game since the 2019 ALCS, and his 2021 comeback was halted by a groin injury in June and a nebulous shoulder issue in August.
We’re not anticipating Sevy being an immediately trusted option for the eighth and ninth innings; outside of the obvious reasons (losing sucks), it was particularly frustrating to watch the Yanks’ 4-0 lead become 4-3 because a one-run game meant we wouldn’t have a soft landing prepped for our former ace.
In the interest of positivity, though, there’s no reason to think Severino will be less effective than Brooks Kriske, Nick Nelson, Sal Romano, or any number of other middle-inning Yankee white flags from earlier in the campaign. When German comes back this week, he won’t be built up, either, but he can also cover two or three innings, something he did a few times with success in mid-July.
And, whether you’ve noticed or not, Michael King has become quite interesting in similar scenarios.
It’s certainly ironic that the Yanks now seem uniquely suited to cover all nine innings of a one-game playoff in slapdash fashion if Gerrit Cole can’t give it 100% … now that they’re officially trailing in the Wild Card standings.
But we digress.
Expecting the world from Severino is unfair, but innings that used to go to a worn-down Chad Green, an overexposed Wandy Peralta, or someone in the middle who simply did not deserve them will now go to the ex-Yankees ace, or German, or King.
That’s a massive improvement, and it comes from three sides.