Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked what advice he would give RHP Luis Severino in advance of his start against the Astros in Game 6 of the ALCS on Friday night.
"To me, the big thing is him getting through the first inning and not getting too hyped up," Girardi said Thursday during a conference call. "You've got to pitch with your brain, not your arm."
The 23-year-old Severino failed to get throught the first inning during his start against the Twins in the Wild Card game, allowing three runs on four hits (including two homers) while walking one and striking out none in just 1/3 of an inning.
Severino was then lifted after the fourth inning of Game 2 of the ALCS in Houston after Girardi thought Severino had injured his shoulder.
After the game, Severino checked out fine, and Girardi said on Thursday that he won't be as alarmed if Severino again shakes his shoulder out while on the mound on Friday night.
But Severino said that won't be an issue.
"I'm not gonna do nothing," he said. "I'm just gonna throw the ball and walk off like a robot."
It is good to hear that Girardi will not overreact to any sudden shoulder twitches from Severino, knowing the 23-year-old is in good health.
Girardi's comments regarding Severino coming out too strong are perfectly reasonable. We saw Severino try to unsuccessfully overpower the Twins in the Wild Card game and then wisely throttle it back some in the ALDS. In his four innings in Game 2 of the ALCS, Severino seemed able to control that aspect of his technique, and was pitching well before Girardi pulled him.
Severino's ability to harness his extra energy and put it toward pitching as deep into Game 6 as possible is important to the Yankees regardless of the fact that they will have a full bullpen ready to go. Severino cannot allow the Astros offense to gain confidence with a big first inning, but rather has to shut Houston down in order to keep the Minute Maid Park crowd as hushed as possible.