The Yankees have relied heavily on Luis Severino throughout the season as their ace. He gives them lengthy starts, throws dominant pitches, and always turns in reliable performance. Recently, however, he hasn’t been anywhere near his peak capability. From July 23rd to August 8th, he allowed 20 runs in only 22 innings, good for a 7.77 ERA. Then, last night, the Mets drove him from the game after he surrendered four runs in as many innings. Severino allowed seven hits, two of which left the yard, in the process.
This slide comes at a time when the Yankees have fallen in the standings, down to 9.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox entering last night’s game. Severino has actively contributed to that widening deficit, as opposed to leading the staff like he was earlier in the year. As far as we know, nothing is wrong physically with him. But it’s clear he has to perform better. So, how can the Yankees fix him?
The answer for Severino may be what the club is doing for another member of its staff: CC Sabathia. The left-hander was placed on the 10-day disabled list following a six inning shutout performance on Sunday against the Texas Rangers. Brian Cashman called it “a time-out”.
There was nothing noticeably wrong with Sabathia, and he had just delivered a fantastic outing. CC, however, felt it was in the team’s best interest to skip him in the rotation. That was something they already envisioned doing at some point in the season.
Severino is in a different situation than Sabathia, but the same logic applies. Something is clearly different about him of late, and his performance is vital to the Yankees’ success come October. Taking him out for one turn to potentially right the ship would be far more valuable than another start where he performs below his own standard.
For what it’s worth, the Yankees have ruled this option out:
No plans to skip Severino for now, Boone says.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 14, 2018
They should still consider it, however, because Severino isn’t giving them the best chance to win every five days. That’s how badly he’s struggled of late.
The timing of it would be awkward internally, since the Yankees already have to cover CC’s spot this week. In the big picture, however, this would be the ideal time to try this. The Yankees main competition for the Wild Card are all slated to play each other over the next week. That should give the Bombers some breathing room to fix Sevy before big series against the Mariners and Athletics appear on the horizon. Severino will be vital to those match ups, and working on getting him ready to line up against them is more important than a start against the Blue Jays.