HOUSTON — Luis Severino, the Yankees’ starter in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, has had to overcome a lot.
He overcame a bad 2016 to become the team’s ace this season. He overcame a bad start in the wild-card game to win Game 4 of the Division Series.
Now Severino will try to overcome a pair of bad starts against the Astros this season when he faces the most prolific offense in baseball.
First, though, he has to figure out whom he’s facing.
When asked on Friday which Houston hitters he finds the toughest, Severino said: “Maybe [Carlos] Correa, one of the toughest guys that they have. They also have the rightfielder, I can’t remember his name.”
When someone asked if he meant Josh Reddick, Severino nodded.
“Reddick. Yeah. Yeah,” he said. “But I think those two guys, I’ll try to be more careful.”
Severino, who will be opposed by Justin Verlander, faced Houston twice this season. He allowed three runs in 2 1⁄3 innings at Yankee Stadium on May 14 and gave up six runs in 5 1⁄3 innings at Minute Maid Park on July 2.
It’s no wonder Severino remembered Correa. He’s gotten him out once in six plate appearances. Correa is 3-for-4 with two doubles, two walks and three RBIs.
Reddick is 3-for-7 against Severino and first baseman Yuli Gurriel is 4-for-5. On the plus side, Severino has held AL batting champion Jose Altuve to one hit in six at-bats.
“It’s not easy to face Severino,” Altuve said. “He throws 100 miles per hour and he has a very hard slider. You got to go out there and try to do everything you can to hit it, because like I said, you’re going to see 100 coming out of his hand and if you try to cheat, maybe he’s going to throw you a slider.”
Verlander has been nearly unhittable since joining the Astros on Aug. 31. He went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in five starts in the regular season and won two games in the ALDS against Boston, including the clinching Game 4 in the first relief appearance of his career.
Verlander has extensive history against the Yankees but has never faced Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird.
“They have scouting reports on me, I have scouting reports on them,” Verlander said. “I think we all know our strengths and weaknesses. But you never know what a guy’s going to see well or what he’s not going to see well. You just don’t know that until you get out there. So that’s one of those things that we’ll have to figure out in the game.”