Luis Severino is not the type of pitcher who hides his emotions when he's on the mound and performing at his best. Unfortunately for the Yankees, that did not happen in the AL Wild Card Game, when he only recorded one out before the Twins sent him to the showers.
The Yankees gave Severino a reprieve by beating the Indians in Game 3 of the ALDS presented by Doosan, forcing a Game 4 at Yankee Stadium with the talented, young right-hander on the mound. He was grateful for the second chance. "It means a lot," he said after Game 3. "I think the last start I have wasn't my best one, so I'll have a chance to go over there and try to do my job and give the team a chance to win."
Boy, did he ever. Severino stymied Cleveland hitters with nine strikeouts over his seven innings of three-run ball, as the Yankees won, 7-3, to send the series back to Progressive Field for a decisive Game 5. He was clearly pumped up, too:
Severino kept it going deep into the game, htiting 98 mph or better 11 times in the seventh inning alone. One of those was a 99.3 mph heater past Lonnie Chisenhall that was his ninth strikeout of the night.
The fans gave Severino just a little extra motivation as he was tiring, and he acknowledged it in the postgame. "I hear the stadium calling my name, so I know I've got to go over there and get the extra half that I work all year," he said. "So I just want to go over there, try to have fun and help the team win."
This time, not even Severino's necklace could remain in his uniform:
It's impressive to see a pitcher Severino's age (23) perform so well on baseball's greatest stage. In fact, there has only been one younger pitcher in the long history of the Yankees to record at least nine strikeouts in a playoff game -- Dave Righetti in 1981.
Severino's last batter of the night, Roberto Perez, didn't whiff, but once he grounded out to Didi Gregorius, Severino walked off the mound to the roaring Yankee Stadium crowd and really felt the moment.
Pretty nice night to be a young Yankees ace.
Tune in next to the Yankees and Indians in ALDS Game 5: Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET on FS1.