Opening Day is less than a week away for the New York Yankees, who will welcome the Boston Red Sox to the Bronx for a three-game set. At this point, fans can’t expect any major roster changes until the season is closer to the trade deadline.
That goes for the pitching staff, too. This is likely it. Earlier this week, the Yankees revealed their starters for the first four games of the season. Gerrit Cole will get Opening Day, followed by Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon. One can assume Nestor Cortes Jr. will grab the No. 5 spot.
The one concern here? Severino as the No. 2. This was always up-in-the-air even before his awful spring training — relying on a guy who has thrown 18 total regular-season innings since 2019. That’s three years of hardly playing baseball … and now you think he’s going to give you co-ace production?
The right-hander might be “working things out” during spring training, so worrying about his numbers in meaningless games may not be worth our time … but spring training production does matter for guys like Sevy who are trying to find their footing after having a successful MLB career interrupted by injuries.
Somehow, after all this rest and a healthy end to the 2021 season, Severino has pitched just 3.2 innings this spring — and that’s hardly the worst part.
He owns a 17.18 ERA and 3.55 WHIP in those two “starts” while allowing FIVE walks and striking out just one batter. And he’s already dealing with “injury scares,” which has become the norm for him ever since after the 2018 season.
Why are the Yankees placing so much trust in Luis Severino?
Many would’ve guessed he’d start the season either in the bullpen or at the back end of the rotation due to the uncertainty surrounding his longevity, health, mechanics, and overall mental approach. He threw just six innings last year … which was the result of an extended rehab from Tommy John surgery, more “soreness,” and a groin injury that led us to believe it was a lot worse than it was.
It just feels like the Yankees are living in the past here. Severino’s workhorse days from 2017 and 2018 are nearly 4-5 years ago. His bullpen sessions might look good, but getting shelled by the Tigers and Phillies while clearly dealing with some location issues doesn’t instill confidence whatsoever.
It’s almost even worse to put top-of-the-rotation pressure on him, too, since it’s evident he’s struggled with the spotlight in the past on multiple occasions.
And when the season opens, based on his workload so far, he’ll probably need a piggyback.
There’s a reason fans were up in arms about the team’s lack of moves in the pitching department, both for the rotation and bullpen.
Let’s just hope the incessant complaints about the Yankees lacking a No. 2 starter aren’t validated a couple of months into the season.