Luis Severino pulled from AL wild-card game after nightmare first inning

New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino must not have known about the team’s dominance of the Minnesota Twins the last few times they faced each other in the postseason. The 23-year-old struggled in the American League wild-card game, not even making it out of the first inning.

Severino’s troubles began immediately. On the fifth-pitch of the game, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier smacked a lead-off home run to left to give Minnesota the early lead.

After inducing a pop out from Joe Mauer, Severino walked Jorge Polanco on seven pitches. The next batter, Eddie Rosario, took a 91 mph slider out to right for a two-run shot.

His troubles wouldn’t end there. Severino allowed a single to Eduardo Escobar. After a nine-pitch at-bat, Max Kepler doubled, putting men on second and third.

At that point, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had seen enough. He signaled to the bullpen for reliever Chad Green, ending Severino’s night. Severino lasted just 1/3 of an inning, giving up three runs on four hits with a walk. He threw 27 pitches, 19 of which were strikes.

Luis Severino notched just one out in the AL wild-card game. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Luis Severino notched just one out in the AL wild-card game. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

His numbers could have been worse, as Severino was responsible for the runners on second and third. Green was able to limit the damage, striking out both batters he faced to end the inning. Twins starter Ervin Santana hadn’t taken the field yet and the team already had a 3-0 lead.

It was the shortest start in a winner-take-all game since 2000.

Thankfully for Severino, his teammates were able to pick him up. The Yankees rallied for for three runs off Santana in the bottom of the first, tying things up 3-3. From there, the Yankees continued to pour it on. The club eventually won the contest 8-4, and moved on the American League Division Series, where they’ll face the Cleveland Indians.

Severino was picked for the start after a breakout season, in which he posted a 2.98 ERA over 193 1/3 innings. He was by far the team’s best starter all year.

While it might be easy to blame it on fatigue, that’s not exactly the case. Severino was excellent in the second half, posting a 2.28 ERA over his final 86 2/3 innings.

It’s possible Severino was too amped for his first postseason start. He was pumping 100 mph fastballs and had trouble throwing strikes early. Severino averaged just over 97 mph with his heater throughout the season.

The Yankees surprising success in 2017 was built on their youngsters outperforming expectations. Severino was a big part of that for New York all year, but picked the worst part of the season to finally show his youth.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik