Yankees overcome Severino’s poor start

For an organization that relies so much these days on analytical statistics, the Yankees seem to be stubborn in the belief that Luis Severino is better suited as a starting pitcher than a reliever when the numbers at this point clearly suggest otherwise.

Severino got another start Saturday as the Yankees chose to shut down Mashiro Tanaka the day before the end of their season. In his prior start last Monday night at Toronto, Severino in my view got into a foolish exchange of purpose pitches with the Blue Jays and was ejected from the game in the second inning.

None of that nonsense occurred this time, but once again in a starting appearance Severino failed to fulfill the promise he displayed a year ago when he was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts.

Saturday was Severino’s 11th start this season and the sixth time he did not pitch the minimum five innings to qualify for a winning decision, of which this year he has none. The righthander was gone two outs into the fourth after giving up three earned runs, five hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

The stats tell the story on Severtino. In 11 starts this year, he was 0-8 with an 8.49 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. In 11 appearances in relief, he was 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA and 25 K’s in 23 1/3 innings. The Yankees continue to have faith that Severino will emerge as an important figure in the rotation someday, but the numbers lend evidence to the possibility that late-inning work may be a better fit for him.

His teammates got Severino off the hook by coming back from the 3-0 deficit to stall at least momentarily the Orioles’ path to the playoffs with a 7-3 victory. Baltimore’s loss opened the gates somewhat for the Blue Jays, Tigers and Mariners, all of whom were playing later in the evening. The sound man at Seattle’s Safeco Field was so happy he played the Frank Sinatra hit, “New York, New York,” before the Mariners’ game against the Athletics.

The Yankees fought back in small chunks the way teams that fall behind early are supposed to. Tyler Austin singled in the Yanks’ first run, in the fifth, and Chase Headley made it a one-run game with a two-out, RBI double in the sixth. Austin tied the score and chased Orioles starter Wade Miley with another opposite field home run, to right-center, in the seventh. All five of Austin’s home runs have been to the opposite field at Yankee Stadium and have either tied the score or put the Yankees ahead.

Baltimore’s bullpen came apart in the eighth and surrendered four runs. The normally reliable Brad Brach imploded starting with a walk to pinch hitter Jacoby Ellsbury with one out and giving up Headley’s second double on a ground ball over the first base bag and down the right field line.

Austin Romine thrust the Yankees ahead with a two-run single. After a two-out walk to Ronald Torreyes, who was on base three times, Brett Gardner greeted reliever Oliver Drake with a double to left field for two more runs.

Headley showed some heads-up base running on Gardy’s hit. Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy bumped into Headley between second and third. Headley ignored the stop sign put up by third base coach Joe Espada and continued to the plate. Third base umpire Jim Reynolds took note of Hardy’s interference, so there was a good chance he would have called obstruction on the shortstop but Headley made it home safely anyway.

Dellin Betances bounced back from some disappointing outings recently to withstand a leadoff single in the ninth by Michael Bourn to wrap things up by striking out the next three batters. It was a stirring October victory for the Yankees, albeit in a spoiler role.

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