Yankees “curious” to see how Luis Severino answers challenge

New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino winds up in a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium in New York, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Hello from Tropicana Field, where the Yankees will wrap up their three-game series with the Rays tonight at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Luis Severino tries to bounce back from the first rough outing of his big league career, drawing the start against Chris Archer. The Yankees are 2-6 in their last eight games, and Girardi wants to see how Severino responds to the challenge.

“I’m a little curious,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “The other thing he’s going through is, he’s seeing teams pretty quickly back to back. Teams can make some slight adjustments and pitchers have to as well.”

Playoff picture: The Yankees (79-65) trail the Blue Jays (82-62) by three games in the American League East. Toronto has David Price on the mound tonight at Turner Field.

The Yankees lead the Astros (77-68) by 2 1/2 games for the first Wild Card spot. Baseball Prospectus has the Yankees with a 96.7 percent chance of making the postseason and a 13.4 percent chance of winning the division.

Lineups

Clubhouse report

The Yankees have set their rotation for the upcoming Subway Series against the Mets, and it will not include struggling right-hander Ivan Nova, who has been told to pitch out of the bullpen until further notice.

Girardi said that he would not rule out having Nova start again this year, but he confirmed that the decision was performance-based. Nova has gone 6-8 with a 5.11 ERA in 14 starts after returning from Tommy John surgery.

“We’re trying to get the guys that are throwing the best right now,” Girardi said. “Part of it could be what he’s coming off of. Sometimes you don’t have the command. They say that’s the last thing that comes, is the command. His curveball at times has not been as sharp as we’ve seen in the past.”

The Yankees have aligned Masahiro Tanaka to pitch on Friday, Michael Pineda for Saturday and CC Sabathia on Sunday. Adam Warren is also expected to make another start.

Girardi said that the team has not set its rotation past that point, but the decision could allow Tanaka to pitch next Wednesday against the division-leading Blue Jays in Toronto. Tanaka is 12-6 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts.

MLB Network’s three to watch

Yankees Rays BaseballJacoby Ellsbury is 14-21 AB (.667) with two extra-base hits (1 HR) in his career against Archer, but Ellsbury has gone hitless in his last 25 at-bats, spanning six games. Since returning from the DL (right knee sprain) on July 8th, Ellsbury is slashing .207/.247/.322 with a .569 OPS over 58 games.

Alex Rodriguez is batting .295 AVG (18-61 AB) with eight HR, and 13 RBI in 17 games against the Rays this year.

In his last start against the Yankees, Archer allowed five runs (four earned) over 6 1/3 innings, taking the loss in the 6-4 defeat at Yankee Stadium. The loss was the first of Archer’s career against the Yankees, after going 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his first eight starts against the Bombers.

Stat so?

For the season, the Yankees’ bullpen has thrown the second most innings in the American League (473.2), trailing only the Rays (484.1).

On this date

1979: The Yankees held “Catfish” Hunter Day for the future Hall of Famer, who had announced that he planned to retire after the following season.

1998: Derek Jeter singled off Chicago’s Gavin Floyd in the first inning for his 1,270th career hit at the original Yankee Stadium, surpassing Lou Gehrig for the most all-time hits at the ballpark.

Quote to note

“I was part of the Wild Card when I was in St. Louis. It’s a tough situation, honestly. You’re playing one game; anything can happen. Anything can go right and anything can go wrong. When we played in Atlanta, there was a call made on an infield fly; people started throwing bottles in the game and went crazy. It worked for our benefit and we were able to move up to the next series, but it’s tough. At the same time, it’s also a chance.” — Carlos Beltran

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