Regional Sports

Time for Severino to grow up

After four years of service, Yankees starter Luis Severino needs to take the next step to be a difference maker in the postseason.

The blame game has been in earnest as soon as the replay room ruled Gleyber Torres out at first in the final out of the American League Division Series between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Giancarlo Stanton and Yankees manager Aaron Boone received most of the blame for why the Yankees were dispatched by the Boston Red Sox in four games.

As deserving as they are to receive the blame, alleged Yankees ace Luis Severino is the reason the ALDS turned out to be a short series. He stunk in a pivotal Game 3 of the best-of-five series. He had absolutely nothing, and he allegedly had no idea what time the game would start hence why he had short warm-up routine that lasted eight minutes according to Ron Darling on TBS’ telecast Monday night.

Whether the lack of warm-up routine turned out to be a factor or not, it does not matter. It does not hide the fact he was terrible and unreliable in a game the Yankees counted on him. They wanted him to develop to be an ace for games like this. Instead, he raises questions now whether or not he can be that difference maker in the starting rotation.

Severino gave up six runs and seven hits against the Red Sox in his three forgettable innings. He struggled to finish off the Red Sox after being ahead of the count with two strikes in the first two innings of the game, and eventually, the Red Sox were able to get on base.

His six postseason starts leave so much to be desired. He gave up 16 runs and 22 hits while walking 14 batters in 23 underwhelming innings with a 6.26 ERA. Does this scream like a starter who can be counted on to win a big game in the postseason? He pitches more like failed Yankees starter Jose Contreras than Andy Pettitte or Orlando Hernandez in the postseason.

Talk about him being a young starter who is finding his way at the age of 24, but he has not offered any reason for his teammates to be confident in him in a game the Yankees have to win like in Game 3.

The Yankees hoped he would have come along as a starter by now. He has showed glimpses of promise in the regular season, but he has not translate any of that in the postseason. It’s like the moment may be too big for him. He looked so scared to be out there on Monday night.

There are theories to why Severino struggled:

Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez mentioned on the TBS studio pregame show that the Yankees starter has been hurt this season. It’s interesting he says this since he has worked with him during the offseason and the Yankees starter’s ERA rose from 1.98 to 3.52 during a two-month stretch from July to September in which the 24-year-old went 5-5 with a 6.10 ERA in 12 starts.

It’s an interesting take from Martinez, but Severino did alright in September. Plus, he was healthy last season and he stunk then, too.

Concentration has been an issue.

This is where he needs to mature as a starter. If he does not have his best stuff, he still has to find a way to get hitters out. It doesn’t have to be a strikeout. He needs to find a way to induce groundballs to get out of the inning. He has to learn how to pitch through jams. He has to learn how to have a short memory.

This is where pitchers have to grow up to take the next step. Severino has time, but finding a way is another question.

Does Severino work hard enough?

That’s an interesting question, especially in light of not knowing when the game starts and his short warm-up routine in Game 3 of the ALDS. Part of being an effective starter is being prepared to go every fifth day and knowing batters’ tendencies. It seems he and Gary Sanchez always shake each other off at games. There’s been a disconnect with him and his catchers all season. Whatever it is, he needs to do more to be more ready for games that he has showed. He has to understand what it takes to be an elite starter in Major League Baseball.

Playing through a pain is a problem.

No one is ever going to be 100 percent in a long season. In fact, it’s hard to believe any starter is going to be 80 percent with the arm and tear. Severino needs to stop babying his arm and learn how to pitch through pain. He can’t expect everything to go right for him to do well.

The Yankees no doubt will look for a starter who can be a difference maker this offseason. They can’t enter the season with Severino being the ace since he has showed he can’t get it done.

With that said, Severino is going into the prime of his career. He has to start living up to his promise sooner rather than later or else he will never get to that level.

He has pitched four years in the majors now. He knows he has to do better than he has showed.

Next season should be the season he grows up or he never will.

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