The series that everyone has been waiting for has finally arrived. The Blue Jays take their 1.5 game AL East lead into New York for a tilt with the Yankees. At two ends of the spectrum, Toronto could leave the Bronx with a 5.5 game lead in the division or a 2.5 game deficit, so it's a huge series for both teams. The first pitching matchup is a showstopper, as David Price takes on electric rookie Luis Severino tonight at 7:05 after the game was delayed on Thursday.
Severino is a 21-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic who signed with the Yankees a few years ago and wasn't actually traded to acquire Major League talent in the interval since then! That's quite the rarity in the New York organization. He entered 2015 as the Yankees top prospect and the 30th overall in the minors according to John Sickels. Severino broke out last year and followed it up this season with some dominant numbers in the high minors including a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A Scranton. He quickly turned everyone into a believer after he was called up in early August to fill a rotation spot and has been lights out since then.
In six starts with the Yankees, the righty has an ERA of 2.04, a FIP of 3.96, and a 23.5% K-rate. The righty actually made his third start in the big leagues in Toronto and pitched pretty solidly despite New York losing the game 3-1. It will be interesting to see what adjustments are made this time around. For the rookie, this contest will be the first high-pressure start he's made in the big leagues and it may be too much for the extremely young man born in 1994.
His repertoire is more of a reliever's arsenal, featuring mainly just a fastball and slider although it clearly is effective enough for him. The heater comes in around 96 mph and the slider oftentimes breaks 90 mph with hard movement. He also throws a changeup with great arm-side run, but the pitch is still developing for the young guy. Unfortunately, the electric Severino will be a starter the Blue Jays have to contend with in the AL East for a long time.
As you can see, the Dominican keeps it pretty uniform with his pitch selection:
Due to the fastball and slider combination, lefties hit Severino a lot better than right-handed hitters. This means it's a foregone conclusion that Justin Smoak will be in the lineup. Wouldn't be too sad to see Dalton Pompey in the lineup, but we all know that won't happen. The lineup was already released last night and shouldn't change this evening.
- Ben Revere LF
- Josh Donaldson 3B
- Jose Bautista RF
- Edwin Encarnacion DH
- Troy Tulowitzki SS
- Justin Smoak 1B
- Russell Martin C
- Ryan Goins 2B
- Kevin Pillar CF