The New York Yankees’ night did not get off to an ideal start on Tuesday.
Hosting the Minnesota Twins in a win-or-go-home American League Wild Card game, the Yankees sent starting pitcher Luis Severino to the mound to start the game. Throughout the season Severino had been one of the most reliable pitchers in the Yankees’ arsenal, leading the team in ERA and strikeouts among starters.
Unfortunately, Tuesday was not Severino’s night.
After working himself into a 3-1 count, Severino gave up a lead-off home run to the first batter he saw, Brian Dozier, much to the horror of the gathered Bronx faithful.
BRIAN DOZIER LEADOFF HR pic.twitter.com/ZSMMDbv5vD
— In The Stands (@inthestandspc) October 4, 2017
Then, after Severino walked Jorge Polanco, he gave up yet another home run to Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario.
— The Eephus Podcast (@EephusPod) October 4, 2017
After he had recorded just one out and dug the Yankees into a 3-0 hole, New York’s most reliable starter was asked to hand over the ball to Chad Green in relief, who would strike out two batters to end the inning.
It was a dismal performance of historic proportions.
Shortest start by a Yankee in the playoffs since Art Ditmar, Game 1 of the 1960 World Series.
— Seth Rothman (@SethDRothman) October 4, 2017
Notably, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had faced criticism in the past regarding the short leash he has with his starters. And while its possible Severino could have recovered and gotten out of the inning no-further scathed, it’s understandable that Girardi would want to get the ball in the hands of his strong core of relievers in a must-win game.
Thankfully, the Bronx Bombers would immediately respond. Already down 3-0 in the opening inning, the Yankees would quickly bring a similar pain to Twins starter Ervin Santana.
After Brett Gardner walked to open the inning and wunderkind Aaron Judge singled to center, Didi Gregorious would step up to the plate and tie the game with an absolute blast to right field.
Didi gregorius TIES it up with a 3 run dinger ????????pic.twitter.com/p6aPnLSxaV
— Ballplayer™ (@BaIIplayer) October 4, 2017
While Santana would make it out of the inning unlike his counterpart, the damage was done – at 3-3, it was a whole new ball game.