Game 161: When Do The Playoffs Start?

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The Yankees dropped the penultimate game of the 2019 regular season to the Texas Rangers by the score of 9-4. With the playoff match ups set, this game was virtually meaningless. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t an important storyline to follow. Luis Severino was on the bump tonight. He gave some mixed results, which in the big picture isn’t totally a bad thing. Here is the box score for tonight’s game. Let’s get to the short takeaways.

1. A Nice Test for Louis Cefarino: Luis Severino made his third and final regular season start tonight. His first two went about as well as you could imagine for a pitcher coming off a serious injury. At this point in the season, you want Sevy to face as many different scenarios as possible heading into the postseason. This was his first road start so it posed a nice challenge. It doesn’t hurt that it took place in a hitter friendly stadium.

Severino struggled in the first inning. His velocity sat at 94-95, so a few ticks lower than his starts back in New York. He was having trouble finding his command. Just like in the first inning of his start against the Angels, Sevy was also struggling to finish batters off with two strikes. There wasn’t a pitch that he could really trust to put a hitter away. Here is a chart of Severino’s pitch selection and its location:

Sevy’s fastball was all over the place in the first inning. The change up wasn’t all that effective and the slider didn’t have enough arc to really entice hitters. He was fighting himself a bit. And in all honesty, that was fine. This game didn’t have any real consequence and it was an opportunity to see if Sevy could make in game adjustments.

The most encouraging part about this is start is he did in fact make some adjustments. His command improved as his start went on and he was able to rack up some strike outs. There was one inning where he struck out the side. It was also nice to see his velocity tick up to the 96-97 range throughout the rest of the start.

It wasn’t one of the best starts of his career, but it was an important one. Cefarino is going to face a seriously potent lineup in the Minnesota Twins and it was important to see how he handled in game adversity. I would say he passed the test and the Yankees staff should be encouraged by how his night finished. His next start will be in the ALDS.

2. Cessa and Cortes Jr. Combine Fight Over Being More Terrible: Luis Cessa and Nestor Cortes Jr. have pitched well in spots over the season. In fact, Cessa is having a nice season as a long man/mop up reliever. His numbers are solid. Earlier in the season, Cortes Jr. was a nice contributor as the pitcher to follow Chad Green’s opener innings. Neither guy will save tonight’s highlights in the vault.

After giving up two walks and hitting a batter in the bottom of the 5th, Cessa promptly gave up two singles to start the 6th inning. He followed the two hits with two consecutive walks to bring in a run. Cessa struck out Danny Santana and was taken out of the game with the bases loaded for Nestor Cortes Jr.

Apparently Nestor had very little interest in keeping this game close because he gave up this bomb to Rougned Odor:

This ball was hit about 2 miles. Cortes Jr. clearly isn’t going to wow you with his stuff. He relies on deception and command. When he doesn’t hit his spots, it can get real ugly. Nestor hasn’t been good at all lately and I think it is worth wondering if he keeps his 40 man spot this winter. The team will be in a roster crunch and these performances matter when evaluating which players should stay and which should go. Cortes Jr. is not making a good case for himself lately.

In regards to Cessa, he just had one of those nights. This won’t impact his chances of making the postseason roster. He will be on the ALDS squad, but I certainly don’t want to see him in a big spot in the playoffs. Cessa has his supporters and he is enjoying a solid season. He just doesn’t have the command that makes me feel comfortable against the elite offenses in the league. If there are any low leverage situations that arise in the playoffs, I have no problem seeing Luis. I have no interest in seeing him in any other scenario.

3. No One Got Hurt: This is probably the most important news of the day. No one got a tight ass. No one broke a bone. There wasn’t a pulled groin. The Yankees actually survived a late season game without a new injury. This is a victory within itself.

The final game of the 2019 regular season is tomorrow afternoon. This season flew by didn’t it? The game will start at 3:05pm along with the rest of the major league slate. The Yankees may start with an opener and then turn to Masahiro Tanaka in an abbreviated outing. Enjoy your night everyone.


Game 161: Please, I Am Begging You, No More Injury Scares


Game 162: The End of the Regular Season


  1. What we continue to see under Hal is cheap, controllable guys, especially pitching, get chance after chance to contribute.

    Cessa is out of options but not arb eligible until 2021…I guess that is possible?

    I’d like to see some house cleaning of him, Adams and Cortes this offseason, but wouldn’t be surprised if all of them return.

    As we all know, Hal has expenses.

  2. CountryClub

    I guess the most important thing is nobody got hurt. But, I’m not sure why Sevy didn’t go out for the 4th. Getting him to 90 pitches was the second most important thing and they could have easily done that. Also, I think they’ve rested their main relievers too much. I would have made sure that they all pitched twice in this series. Come next Friday, they’ll all have pitched no more than 1 game over the previous 9 days.

  3. BillyMartinVanBuren Boys

    This was my first game watching with Buck Showalter in the booth…I actually enjoyed the insights from someone who was so close to the game so recently, and liked how he was pretty open but my GOD is he droll as hell!!

  4. Jim

    These games are only “meaningless” because of how much the team has collapsed over the the past month. All of the problems and weaknesses that cost them HFA aren’t suddenly going to disappear next week. Finishing the year with 103 wins isn’t anything to be proud of when they were on pace for a much better record for most of the year and have slumped at the worst time possible.

    After all, with the way this team has played down the stretch (swept by Oakland and Tampa, series losses against Toronto and Texas), the Twins don’t have much reason to worry about the ALDS.

  5. dasit

    props to alonzo but never forget

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