Raul Ibanez is, quite clearly, some kinda sorcerer.
The 40-year-old magic man just swatted a game-tying two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning, pushing this ALCS Game 1 against the Tigers into extra innings. The Yankees were down four runs when the frame began but had little trouble tracking Jose Valverde’s lifeless deliveries and charged back to keep hope alive. Ichiro Suzuki got the scoring started, also contributing a two-run blast.
Ibanez, who played the hero with two clutch bombs in last week’s ALDS Game 3 defeat of the Orioles, is now 6-for-13 (.462) this postseason.
He batted just .240 with a .308 on-base percentage in 425 plate appearances this summer.
In late February, Yankees starter Luis Severino was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. He underwent Tommy John surgery and has spent the past three months rehabbing. Per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, Severino says he has been “progressing well” and “making steady progress” in his recovery.
Severino has been working out at George M. Steinbrenner Field — home to the Yankees’ Single-A team as well as spring training — while baseball has been shut down due to coronavirus. He has been doing arm, bike, and dumbbell exercises as recommended by team trainers.
The 26-year-old made only three starts last year before being sidelined, allowing a pair of runs on six hits and six walks with 17 strikeouts over 12 innings. In 2018, Severino was an All-Star, going 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA and a 220/46 K/BB ratio over 191 1/3 innings. That prompted the Yankees to sign him to a four-year, $40 million extension in February last year.