NEW YORK – Luis Severino could not have pitched worse in his first postseason appearance for the New York Yankees. The proverbial ace of the staff yielded three runs to the Minnesota Twins in just a third of an inning, while also surrendering four hits and a walk. Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi had seen enough; he motioned to the bullpen for Chad Green and that is when history happened for the Bronx Bombers.
Green inherited runners on second and third base with only one out. Byron Buxton stepped to the plate with a chance to do some serious damage, but Green kept the surging center fielder off balance with a steady-diet of sliders. He eventually punched Buxton out on a 97 MPH fastball. Following Buxton’s at-bat, Green was able to set down Jason Castro and effectively get out of the inning unscathed.
The Yankees responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the first inning after Didi Gregorius blasted a three-run home run to right field. Green was effective up until the third inning where fatigue started to set in. The Yankees’ secret weapon walked two batters and allowed a single to load the bases.
Houdini is the term used to describe David Robertson, a Yankees’ relief pitcher who generally throws late in games. But Tuesday night was not any ordinary game. This was a do-or-die scenario and Girardi had no choice but to go with the reliever he trusted the most to get out of a bases loaded jam. Robertson nearly got Buxton to ground into a double play to end the inning, but the speedy center fielder beat out the throw, tying the score at four apiece. With runners on second and third, he was able to get Castro to strikeout to end the inning on a breaking ball down in the dirt.
Robertson was arguably the most effective and important reliever of the night for the Yankees. He pitched a career high 3.1 innings in relief, struck out five, and allowed just three hits in his dominant performance.
And once the Yankees grabbed hold of the lead from a Greg Bird single, they did not relinquish it. Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman followed Robertson’s outing combining to throw 3.1 innings, striking out four and allowing just one hit. Overall, the Yankees’ relievers combined to pitch 8.2 innings in relief, allowing just one run on five hits, while also striking out 13 batters.
The bullpen most certainly saved the Yankees from a very disappointing end to their season. Now, the team is off to Cleveland to take on the best team in the American League, the Indians.