While many may think the cause of second-half struggles for Luis Severino was tipping pitches, it may not have played as big of a factor as you think.
Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reported on Thursday that Yankees’ pitcher, Luis Severino was tipping pitches in ALDS Game Three. However, there seems to be more to the right-hander’s struggles than just tipping pitches.
First, let me start with the video that sparked the conversation. Jackie Bradley Jr. was seen saying “fastball” to Mookie Betts in the dugout. Severino proceeded to throw a fastball. Maybe Bradley Jr. saw something, maybe he got lucky. But, it was one pitch! Talk about sample size.
Sticking with sample size, Severino threw 15 sliders and the Red Sox swung at six of them. That’s good for 40 percent, roughly seven percent less than his season average. If the Red Sox swing at one more slider, the swing percentage is the same as his season average. So, they weren’t completely laying off of them but again, sample size.
Tipping pitches are such an easy excuse to jump to when a great pitcher struggles. Severino struggled in the second half and in game three. It’s only natural people will jump to this. What’s a bigger deal is the command issues, and the diminished stuff. That’s what really got him crushed.
I want to reiterate, there’s a good chance Severino was tipping pitches, but it wasn’t the main reason he got smacked around. If Severino had his best stuff and was still tipping pitches, he would not have gotten hit like that.
Lastly, it was said that the Yankees were “convinced” Sevy was tipping pitches. Pair that with how he looked on the mound and leaving him in is even more puzzling. If you were so convinced that he was tipping then why do you leave him in when the Red Sox are teeing him up like it’s batting practice? Food for thought.
Is this an issue to keep an eye on going forward? No, I don’t think so. The bigger issue is Severino’s workload. He has thrown a whole lot of innings the last two years. The bigger thing to watch is if he comes back with better stuff and better command and holds it throughout the season.