Not only have the first two games allowed the Yankees to take a commanding 2-0 lead over the Twins in the ALDS, it’s also afforded them the luxury of going with arguably their most talented pitcher to close out the series in Monday’s Game 3, when Luis Severino is scheduled to make his first start of the postseason.
“We’ll have all kinds of firepower ready to go Monday in Minnesota, and look forward to seeing [Severino] go out there and hopefully really be on the attack and continue to build off of what he’s done since he’s come back,’’ manager Aaron Boone said after the Yankees pounded the Twins a second straight game in The Bronx with an 8-2 win on Saturday night.
“We feel like he’s throwing the ball incredibly well and know what he’s capable of when he’s on top of his game,” Boone said. “And that’s the expectation and looking forward to seeing him go out there.”
Severino pitched nine shutout innings in his first two outings after missing most of the regular season first with rotator cuff inflammation and then a lat strain.
He struggled a bit in his final outing against the Rangers and has had a rocky past in the postseason, including in his most recent playoff outing, the Game 3 nightmare in last year’s ALDS, when he allowed six runs in three innings to the Red Sox.
That came after a four-inning scoreless outing in the wild-card win over Oakland.
This will be Severino’s seventh playoff start. So far, the Yankees have handled Minnesota’s talented lineup through the first two games, and Austin Romine expects Severino to continue that trend Monday.
“I think you’ll see Severino — high 90s and a nasty slider,’’ Romine said Saturday. “You’re gonna see him get after it. We’ve seen him in the playoffs and he knows what it takes. He can do to a team what not many other pitchers can.”
And the catcher understands how well set up they are heading into what could be a series-clinching game in Minnesota.
“We got him back this year for this kind of game,’’ Romine said. “And to have him in this spot and in this game is a win for us — not in the game, but just the fact he’s back on the mound. It’s awesome.”
To Romine, Severino hasn’t missed a beat in his three starts.
“He looked like the same old [Severino],’’ Romine said. “There’s no reason to believe he won’t be that again on Monday. It definitely gives everyone added confidence seeing him out there.’’