The Game Ahead
- And that brings us to Saturday’s Game 3. The Yankees will send righty fireballer Luis Severino to the Progressive Field mound hoping to bounce back. Severino is a two-time All-Star that did not face the Guardians in 2022 but has a career ERA of 3.26 against them in five starts. That ERA compares well to his season ERA of 3.18 in a little over 100 IP. Severino is adept at creating weak contact, a skill that will be interesting to see at play against the Guardians’ contact-loving offense. His best pitch is his slider, which plays off of his hard fastball. He also threw a lot of strikes in 2022, so the Guardians will need to consider how aggressively they want to approach their at-bats.
- On the other side, Triston McKenzie will get the ball coming off of his fantastic, six-shutout inning performance against the Rays a week ago. Dr. Sticks was even better in his seven-inning, one-hit masterpiece against the Yankees on July 3rd of this season where he befuddled them to the tune of seven strikeouts. He found success that day despite falling behind 15 of 24 hitters he faced with a first-pitch ball and did so by relying heavily on busting hitters inside with his fastball. He will need to continue to pitch inside on Saturday. Coming off so much success, McKenzie has a lot of reasons to feel confident coming into the ballgame, and with a win under their belts and a rabid home crowd behind them it feels like the momentum of the series may be shifting in the Guardians’ favor.
- Expect Will Brennan back in the starting lineup at DH with Severino on the hill for the Yankees. Owen Miller or perhaps Will Benson could see pinch-hit opportunities late in the game for catcher Austin Hedges. While Francona has platooned the DH role game-to-game within the lineup card, he hasn’t really pinch-hit for his DH during games so I see at-bats for the bench only coming from wanting to hit for Hedges.
- How Boone navigates his bullpen knowing he might need to use it four days in a row will be key. He can’t lean on Jonathon Loaisiga, Wandy Peralta and Clay Holmes forever, but when he went away from them on Friday it backfired. Also, I see Carpenter as no threat off the bench. The man has had one at-bat since August.
- As has become tradition, it’s time for a prediction: Guardians scratch out an early run or two and McKenzie remains tough to crack. Ultimately, the Guardians’ pen holds the line while the Yankees’ pen can’t follow suit. Guardians win Game 3, 4-1.