Luis Severino Named Yankees Starter for AL Wild Card Game vs. Athletics

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19:  Pitcher Luis Severino #40 of the New York Yankees in action in an MLB baseball game against the Boston Red Sox on September 19, 2018 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees won 10-1. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

The New York Yankees announced on Tuesday that Luis Severino will start the team's American League Wild Card Game against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

Severino, 24, is having an excellent 2018 campaign with an 18-10 record, 3.39 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 220 strikeouts in 191.1 innings.

In the past two seasons, Severino has emerged as a foundational rotation piece. But his selection raises concerns.

He wasn't great in last year's postseason, as he went 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 12 strikeouts in 16 innings and four starts. While he'll bring postseason experience to a crucial play-in game, he cooled off down the stretch this season. In 12 starts since the All-Star Game, Severino went 5-6 with a 5.57 ERA in 63 innings. In September, he gave up 10 runs over four starts and 20.1 frames.

In a win-or-go-home game, past numbers don't matter much, though. If Severino pitches well, the Yankees will be in business.  

"When he's pitching at his best, he'll be the best pitcher on the field tomorrow," manager Aaron Boone said, per Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record

And if the team's dangerous offense batters Oakland's pitching, Severino's performance might be a moot point. Either way, the Yankees' season hangs in the balance.

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