HOUSTON -- The Yankees are hoping to see the dominant version of Luis Severino that was evident during the regular season and in his previous start against the Indians in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan when the talented 23-year-old takes the mound against the Astros in Game
HOUSTON -- The Yankees are hoping to see the dominant version of Luis Severino that was evident during the regular season and in his previous start against the Indians in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan when the talented 23-year-old takes the mound against the Astros in Game 2 of the AL Championship Series presented by Camping World on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
• ALCS Game 2: Today, 4 p.m. ET on FOX
The Yanks lost Game 1, 2-1, on Friday night and trail in the series, 1-0.
The Yankees are confident he's the right guy for the job, even though clubs that have lost Game 1 on the road in the LCS since 1985 have gone on to win the series only 11 times in 33 tries.
"That's who we want on the mound," right fielder Aaron Judge said. "Just ... doing what he's been doing all year. He'll get us back to where we need to be."
Severino struggled in his first career postseason outing against the Twins in the AL Wild Card Game on Oct. 3, allowing three runs, including two homers, while recording just one out, but bounced back in a pivotal Game 4 start against Cleveland on Monday. Severino went seven strong frames, surrendering three runs on four hits with nine strikeouts in a 7-3 win at Yankee Stadium.
"I feel confident in myself," said Severino, who posted a 2.98 ERA in 31 starts this season and could finish among the top three in the AL Cy Young Award balloting. "I knew that that first start I did, that wasn't me, and I made adjustments."
• Dress for ALCS: Get Yankees postseason gear
:: ALCS schedule and coverage ::
Nerves got the most of Severino against the Twins, but he controlled his emotions against the Indians, locating his pitches better with 76 of his 113 pitches going for strikes. The 6-foot-2 flamethrower's fastball averaged 97.9 mph against the Indians, hitting as high as 100 mph, while he also threw his slider 36 times, generating seven swings and misses, while also mixing in six changeups.
"You really have to learn to bounce back in this game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think Seve understands that. Seve spent a whole year trying to bounce back last year, and he figured it out. I think that experience probably helped him."
One issue this postseason for Severino is limiting homers, however, as he's served up four blasts in 7 1/3 innings. The Astros were also second in the Majors behind the Yanks in homers during the regular season. Severino, though, kept the ball in the park for the most part during the regular season, giving up 21 homers in 193 1/3 innings. He also went 6-1 with a 2.24 ERA in 15 starts on the road, yielding only six homers away from Yankee Stadium.
Severino, though, struggled against the Astros in his two starts this season, allowing nine runs on 15 hits over 7 2/3 innings, including giving up six runs over 5 1/3 innings in Houston on July 2. Carlos Correa went 3-for-4 with two doubles against Severino, while Josh Reddick went 3-for-7 with two doubles, and Severino said he has to be smart against such a powerful lineup.
"They have power and they're fast," Severino said of the Astros. "Against Correa, I tried to go in and he got me, and same with Reddick. So those two guys, I'll try to be more careful."
Astros players, though, are expecting to see the best from Severino despite his scuffles against them in two starts. After his clunker in Houston in early July, Severino went on to record a 2.40 ERA over his final 15 outings with 116 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings.
"It's not easy to face Severino," said Astros second baseman and AL Most Valuable Player Award candidate Jose Altuve. "He throws 100 mph and he has a very hard slider. I know he's been through a lot this postseason, he pitched the Wild Card Game, short outing, but then he came back to pitch against the Indians, he pitched seven strong innings. So you never take anything for granted."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.