New York Yankees Need Brilliance from Luis Severino After Strikeout Fest

Posted on: October 20, 2022, 11:23h. 

Last updated on: October 20, 2022, 11:43h.

Earlier this month, Luis Severino was pitching a no-hitter vs. the Texas Rangers when manager Aaron Boone pulled him after seven innings. That game took place in the Lone Star state, which is an interesting coincidence today.

Luis Severino
Luis Severino takes the mound Thursday night in Game 2 of the ALCS in Houston. The Yankees lost Game 1 of the series to the Astros 4-2 in Texas on Wednesday. (Image: NY Daily News)

That’s because when the Yankees take the field Thursday night for Game 2 of their American League championship series, they’ll do so in that same state, Texas.

After striking out 17 times Wednesday night against Justin Verlander and three relievers, we know this much about the Yanks: they can be overmatched by Cy Young material. That is a problem they are going to have to deal with again in this series provided they’re able to win at least once.

If they want to keep their fans’ hopes up heading into the weekend, they need to wish that manager Aaron Boone knew what he was doing when he yanked Severino back on October 3. That’s after his final pitch of the night was a 100 mph fastball.

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“It’s still just a decision that just sucks to happen because he was very efficient,” Boone said after that game. “To have to be the one that shuts that down is not fun. But one you’ve got to do.”

This is the same manager who thought it was a good idea to have Clarke Schmidt replace Jameson Taillon in a 1-1 game, resulting in a mass Google search of the word “overthinker” after Martin Maldonado, and Chas McCormick homered in the sixth. Memo to Boone: Taillon had only thrown 67 pitches. That’s not a large number, no matter how hard the Astros were hitting the ball. Got that, Aaron?

Did Boone Make the Right Move that Night?

Boone was thinking “Big Picture” the night when Severino allowed only one batter to reach base via a walk. Well, Big Picture time has arrived again. If the Yankees’ bats stay as silent as they were last night, they are going to need the 28-year-old right-hander from Sabana del la Mar, Dominican Republic to be virtually unhittable. Especially since the Astros are starting Framber Valdez, who led the majors with 26 quality starts and who’s making his first start in a week since striking out six in 5 2/3 innings against Seattle in the divisional series.

Valdez hasn’t faced the Yankees since June 23, when he allowed only two hits, one of which was a three-run homer by Giancarlo Stanton in the first inning. He was pulled by Dusty Baker in the sixth after a 16-pitch walk to Anthony Rizzo, and the Yankees won that game on a walk-off single to cap a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning.

So a reminder, Yankees fans: that game looked like a loss when it was 6-3, and the guys in pinstripes were down to their final three outs. But Aaron Hicks tied the game with a three-run homer off closer Ryan Pressly before Judge won it.

The Astros are favored by 1 1/2 runs Thursday night after the bookmakers watched those 17 strikeouts and made the Astros an even-money favorite to win the World Series. The Yankees are now on the board at +600 — the longest shot of the four teams remaining.

Overreaction after just one game of a seven-game series?

Well, the books do get things wrong sometimes, as they did in making the Brooklyn Nets a 3-point favorite in a game that they lost by 22 at home Wednesday night against the Pelicans. Much more of the same, and Nets coach Steve Nash might be sitting out the winter sooner than Severino, Boone, Judge, and the rest of the Yanks.

But back to baseball …

Tonight’s Best Wagering Strategy

Verlander won’t be pitching, so that’s the first good thing the Yankees have going for them. Also, we should assume that Matt Carpenter and his ‘stache won’t be playing after he struck out four times Wednesday night, which might earn him a seat on the bench for the rest of the series. And yes, Carpenter did that as the designated hitter.

Josh Donaldson wasn’t much better, whiffing three times in three at-bats. He should be planted next to the bat rack tonight and kept there with Krazy Glue. If Oswald Peraza can play shortstop, he can manage third base, too.

Boone has to manage with a certain level of desperation, despite the fact he has ace Gerrit Cole lined up to pitch on Saturday. He also has to find a source of hitting not named Harrison Bader or Anthony Rizzo.

Judge currently has 12 strikeouts in 24 postseason at-bats, but he’s not a guy you give a day off to at this stage of the postseason. But is a guy in a slump like his worthy of a wager? If you’re a Yankees fan, you have to think not, and you have to hope – but not wager – that Judge will come through the same way he did so often throughout the regular season.

Giancarlo Stanton went 2-for-4 on Wednesday, bumping his postseason batting average up to .200. He, too, is a guy that Yankees fans need to get more from. Key hitter No. 3 is shortstop Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, whose .267 average is second on the team in the playoffs.

When your second-best hitter is below .270, you’re not exactly Bronx Bombing the opposition.

So, what we’re going to do here is build a parlay under the assumption that this is a desperation game, even though it is not. Teams have gone down 0-2 in Major League Baseball playoffs 88 times, and 14 have come back to win the series. That being said, we should still assume that Boone will have a Game 7 mindset. Watching your hitters whiff 17 times will do that for a fella.

Where to Build the Best Parlay

The nine sportsbooks operating in New York all have different parlay rules, and the place where the best “Yankees win” parlay is PointsBet.com.

The Yankees are +135 on the moneyline, which is the first leg. (If you’re a Yankees fan, do you really want to take the 1 1/2 runs and hope that they don’t lose by more than one run? Didn’t think so.)

Legs 2-3 are Rizzo having at least one hit (-200) and at least one RBI (+170), and Legs 4 and 5 are for Stanton to add to his team-leading total of six RBIs. He’s +170 to have at least one RBI and -180 to have at least one hit. Leg 6 is Severino to go over 4 1/2 strikeouts, and that gets us to +1500. We stay away from Judge until he stops resembling Carpenter or Donaldson, and we rue the fact that Kiner-Falefa getting at least one hit isn’t available in PointsBet’s Same Game Parlay.

So we live with +1500, we don’t wager the mortgage, and we remind ourselves, my fellow New Yorkers, that Saturday will be warm and sunny, and will feature Cole pitching in the Bronx.

We also remind ourselves that Ben Simmons has 81 games left to not look like the Sixers version of Ben, we try to forget the fact that R.J. Barrett just signed a four-year, $120 million extension and opened the NBA season 3-for-18 in Memphis last night.

We also remind ourselves that the Jets and Giants are overachieving, we didn’t get pushed in front of a subway train, we’re not yet paying eight bucks for a dozen eggs, we can still get Mary J. Blige tickets for tonight’s concert in Brooklyn if we can’t bear to watch baseball, Aaron Hicks will be back next season, the easily offended might one day lighten up, our 401Ks haven’t entirely evaporated, the skies will be perfect for a meteor shower tonight, and the Powerball jackpot for Saturday is $550 million.

Yup, we have all those positives, and perhaps we can all wake up tomorrow and say Boone did the right thing when he pulled Severino from a no-hitter back on October 3 when it wasn’t winter coat weather like it is today. Yes, that is a lot to ask. But again, we’re just one game into a seven-game series, and Verlander is on the shelf until next week.