HOUSTON — Luis Severino wanted to pitch the Yankees into the World Series. And for four innings, he matched zeroes with Justin Verlander.
But it all fell apart for the 23-year-old righty in the fifth, when he surrendered three walks and a pair of back-breaking hits to Brian McCann and Jose Altuve.
McCann’s one-out, RBI double on a 98-mph fastball, and Altuve’s two-out, two-run single on a hanging breaking ball knocked Severino from Game 6, which the Bombers lost to the Astros 7-1 on Friday at Minute Maid Park.
“It’s disappointing because they gave me the ball and I tried to do the best I could, but I didn’t do it,” Severino said. “I lost my command in that last inning, and I didn’t do the job.”
Severino didn’t know why it happened.
“I have no idea,” he said. “After I walked the leadoff man, everything happened so fast, I don’t know.”
Luis Severino started strong, but Justin Verlander outlasted him.
Severino had been pulled after four innings of one-run ball in Game 2 for precautionary reasons.
“He just lost his command,” Joe Girardi said. “He pitched up fairly effectively. But he just kind of lost it up even a little bit more. It happens. And they took advantage of it.”
The Astros are hoping that Charlie Morton’s luck turns on Saturday. The righthander, who they call the “unluckiest pitchers in the postseason,” will get the ball Saturday night in the win-or-go-home Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees.
Morton, who was charged with seven runs in 3.2 innings on Monday night in Game 3, was the surprise choice over Lance McCullers, who threw well in Game 4. He will go against Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia.
“He’s on regular rest. We’re going to have all hands on deck. You’re going to see a game played tomorrow with everybody available, obviously. Probably not Verlander, but he’s superhuman, so we’ll see how he shows up tomorrow,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “But with Charlie, he’s been one of the unluckiest pitchers in postseason. He’s not been hit hard, given up a couple of runs here and there. We just feel like with everyday rest or regular rest he’s a great option.
Charlie Morton will start Game 7 for the Astros.
(Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
“But we want him to start the game. We’ll see how he pieces together 27 outs.”
Morton gave up a softly-hit home run to Todd Frazier in Game 3 and things kind of unraveled from there.
“I think he threw much better than the line showed,” McCullers said of Morton. “I think he’s ready and will do a great job and I am going to be ready behind him for whatever we need.”
The Astros expect to have a full bullpen Saturday, possibly including lefty starter Dallas Keuchel and definitely closer Ken Giles, who Hinch used in the ninth despite it being a 7-1 game.
Giles threw 23 pitches, struck out one, gave up a hit and walked a batter but held the Yankees off
Yankees vs. Astros 2017 American League Championship Series
“These guys will be on an adrenaline high like none other. My decision to pitch him in the 9th, there was no tomorrow, so we didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning. We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings,” Hinch said. “So I just went after it with Giles. I didn’t want him to throw 20-plus pitches. We just wanted the three outs. We wanted to shake hands and get to tomorrow.
“How it happens tomorrow, who knows? We’ll see,” Hinch said. “I’ll use every pitcher on the staff if we have to to get 27 outs.”
Joe Girardi will not have Chad Green for Game 7 after the middle relief man threw 38 pitches in Game 6.
Green went 2.1 scoreless innings
while allowing no hits and striking out three.
Chad Green will be the only reliever unavailable for the Yankees in Game 7.
(Eric Christian Smith/AP)
“I’ll have everybody else, though,” Girardi said.
It’s quite possible that both Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman will be needed to pitch multiple innings in relief of CC Sabathia. Kahnle has done so four times during the playoffs, while Chapman has done so twice.
Sonny Gray could possibly be available as a potential long man.
David Robertson threw just 12 pitches, failing to retire any of the four batters he faced. His postseason ERA rose from 1.64 to 4.91, though he’s been used a ton, which may have contributed to his poor performance.
Dellin Betances, who has struggled mightily with his command, allowed just one hit in relief of Robertson in the eighth, retiring three of the four batters he faced, including a strikeout.
ALL DOWN TO THIS
The Yankees are a perfect 4-0 in elimination games in the playoffs.
“I think you have to keep (Game 6) in perspective,” Joe Girardi said.
“We still have a shot to do what we want to try to do (in Game 7). And so you put this game behind you, move on, and let’s be ready for the next one.”