HOUSTON — Luis Severino doesn’t know exactly what is going to happen when he pitches Friday night against the Astros with a chance to get the Yankees into the World Series. But he knows what’s not going to happen.
No matter how his arm feels, Severino is not going to stretch, bend, gesticulate or do anything else that might cause Joe Girardi to take him out of Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
You’ll remember Girardi removed Severino after four innings and 62 pitches in Game 2 after Severino made a windmilling motion with his throwing arm following a pitch. In Girardi’s mind, that suggested the valuable 23-year-old righthander might have been feeling something bad in his shoulder.
Even though Severino protested, Girardi took him out after the bottom of the fourth. Severino said Thursday that he doesn’t want that to happen again.
“I’m not going to do nothing,” a laughing Severino said. “I’m just going to throw the ball and walk like a robot. Nothing.”
Girardi said his mindset going into Game 6 is that “he’s fine now. Let him go. His bullpen was really good [Wednesday] . . . So I’d probably react a little bit different in this situation.”
Actually, the Yankees’ doctors checked out Severino during Game 2 and he was fine then, too. But Girardi wasn’t going to take any chances.
Now Severino is all amped up for his rematch against Justin Verlander, who threw a 124-pitch complete game in a 2-1 victory to put Houston up 2-0 in the series. The Yankees won three in a row at Yankee Stadium and are looking to close it out Friday with a fresh Severino and a rested bullpen.
“My [excitement] level I think is a hundred,” Severino said. “I’m excited to go over there and try to do my best with the team that we have, with our great team. I’m real excited to get that ball on that day and try to do my best.”
The Yankees believe Severino was too excited for his first postseason start, when he lasted just one-third of an inning in the wild-card game against the Twins. He was much better in his last two, allowing three runs in seven innings to beat Cleveland in Game 4 of the Division Series and one run in four innings against the Astros.
“For me, the big thing is him getting through the first inning and not being too hyped up,” Girardi said. “A lot of times in these types of games — and I’ve said it to him a few times — you have to pitch with your brain, not your arm, because you have to be smart. You can’t try to overpower your way through situations because this team will turn around fastballs. So he has to locate, change speeds. That’s kind of the advice I gave him because I think it’s natural for a kid that hits 98, 99, that you want to overpower people. But you have to use your brain and he knows how to do that and is very capable of doing that.”