Luis Severino’s strong outing against Padres injects energy to Yankees’ rotation

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Michael Bennington
Sunday May 28, 2023

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The wrestling-style best-player belt went to Isiah Kiner-Falefa on Saturday. But It was Luis Severino‘s performance that gave the Yankees a bigger reason to rejoice after their hard-fought 3-2 win against the Padres. Given the team’s ongoing struggles with starting pitching and injuries, Luis Severino’s contribution could prove to be a crucial factor with long-lasting implications.

In his second start since returning from the Injured List, Luis Severino delivered an impressive performance, pitching 6.2 innings with only one hit allowed and two runs (one earned). Despite receiving a no-decision, his fastball showcased its velocity, and he displayed exceptional efficiency, lasting into the seventh inning despite a restricted pitch count that would typically see other pitchers exiting the game much earlier.

According to Aaron Boone, Luis Severino’s performance was indicative of him performing at his peak level. Boone remarked that it appeared to him as Severino showcasing his best abilities.

Severino rose to the challenge

Luis Severino effectively stifled the Padres’ offense for 6.2 innings at Yankee Stadium, surrendering only one earned run and showcasing impressive velocity, reaching up to 100 mph. With his recent performances, including two starts since coming back from the Injured List, Luis Severino has maintained an outstanding 1.59 ERA.

The Yankees starter embraced the challenge and demonstrated his dominance by retiring the first 11 Padres batters he faced. He exhibited exceptional control, striking out four hitters and restricting the Padres’ offense to infield grounders. It was a performance that evoked memories of the old Luis Severino, before his injuries and surgeries, leaving spectators with a sense of nostalgia.

Luis Severino showcased an impressive velocity on his four-seam fastball, averaging 97.8 mph, which marked a notable improvement of 1.5 mph compared to his previous start. This development is not only a positive outcome for the Yankees but can be likened to winning the lottery. As Boone enthusiastically remarked, “I thought his stuff was exceptional.”

Boone expressed his satisfaction with Luis Severino’s performance by acknowledging the presence of his velocity and the effectiveness of his pitches, particularly his slider and change-up. According to the manager, the Yankees starter was performing at his peak, resembling the form that Boone is familiar with.

Luis Severino delivered a blazing 99-mile-per-hour fastball that caught Fernando Tatis Jr. off guard, resulting in an impressive called strike three. He continued his mastery by deceiving the following batter, Juan Soto, with a well-executed slider that also resulted in a called strikeout. Throughout the game, the Yankees starter managed to strike out five batters while issuing three walks. However, he did surrender a solo home run to Tatis later in the contest.

In the seventh inning, DJ LeMahieu delivered a crucial home run, leveling the score at 2-2. Three innings later, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, in his first walk-off hit as a Yankee and third in his career, sealed the victory for the team.

The change of luck

Since 2019, Luis Severino has been known for his impressive arm but plagued by a troublesome injury record. The Yankees starter has been persistent in his efforts to maintain good health, including hiring a chef to ensure he follows a proper diet. Despite his best efforts, he remains perplexed by his ongoing injury struggles.

The streak of unfortunate events has persisted for so long that it would be premature to declare the curse lifted. However, there was a noticeable sense of positivity in the Yankees clubhouse following their 3-2 victory over the Padres, in which they rallied from behind.

The Yankees and their struggling rotation would greatly benefit from the return of a dominant Luis Severino. Having Prime Sevy back would be a tremendous boost for the team. While Gerrit Cole has been exceptional and is widely regarded as one of the top pitchers in baseball, Severino acknowledges Cole’s immense talent, describing him as a formidable force on the mound.

Due to injury, Carlos Rodon has yet to make an appearance for the Yankees this season. Clarke Schmidt, despite his 5.58 ERA, shares the most starts with Gerrit Cole, which likely deviates from the original plan outlined by Boone and the team’s management during spring training. Nestor Cortes, known for his ability to disrupt timing, has struggled with a 5.30 ERA. Domingo German has shown glimpses of strong performances, but recently he has found himself in challenging sticky situations on the mound.

Despite being sidelined for a significant portion of the season, Luis Severino has provided the Yankees with a glimpse of what they had been lacking. In his limited appearances, he has showcased an impressive 1.59 ERA over 11.1 innings pitched. Notably, he reached a velocity of 100 miles per hour with his fastball on at least one occasion, and his average fastball velocity of 97.8 mph is 1.5 mph higher than his season average.

However, the remaining members of the starting rotation are nowhere near achieving such impressive numbers. As of Saturday, the Yankee starters held a middling 15th rank in ERA among all Major League Baseball teams, and their total innings pitched by the rotation also ranked 15th. These statistics indicate average performance, which is concerning considering the fierce competition within the challenging AL East division.

The man Yankees need the most

Both DJ LeMahieu and Isiah Kiner-Falefa played crucial roles in breaking the Yankees’ three-game losing streak. Their contributions add to the complexity of roster decisions that Aaron Boone will soon face. However, the resurgence of Luis Severino carries even greater implications for the Yankees in the long run.

Boone expressed his excitement about the addition of Luis Severino to the Yankees’ starting rotation. Without directly quoting him, he mentioned that Luis Severino’s presence alongside other talented pitchers could create a formidable and well-rounded group that poses challenges for opposing teams. Boone believes that as the season progresses, the team has the potential to assemble a highly skilled and difficult-to-score-against pitching staff.

Boone acknowledged Luis Severino’s ability to compete at a high level and mentioned that when he was at his peak with the potential to go head-to-head with any opponent.

The Yankees’ offseason aspirations included the vision of assembling a formidable trio of pitchers, with Rodon joining forces with Cole and Severino to create a dominant starting rotation. The mere thought of encountering this formidable trio at the onset of a postseason series is enough to evoke excitement. While the desired combination has yet to materialize, Luis Severino’s recent performances offer a tantalizing preview of the impact he could have in realizing that collective vision.

Luis Severino is a starter for the New York Yankees.

Luis Severino expressed his confidence in his abilities following the game, stating that he believes he still has the capability to reach a blazing 103 mph with his fastball. He conveyed a sense of overall well-being and good health, emphasizing that his focus is on building up his pitch count. According to Severino, all of his pitches are in solid form and performing well.

The Yankees starter delivered 82 pitches during Saturday’s game, with an impressive 54 of them finding the strike zone. However, there was a concerning moment in the seventh inning when one of his pitches sailed past the catcher and hit the backstop. This incident raised alarm for Boone, who briefly suspected a potential injury as Luis Severino doubled over in response. Fortunately, it turned out that Severino was not hurt but rather frustrated with himself for such a significant miss.

Upon seeing the approaching figure of his manager, Luis Severino initially anticipated that Boone was going to remove him from the game. However, he quickly voiced his request, stating, “No, give me one more.”

Granting his request, Luis Severino remained on the mound for another opportunity. With two outs and a runner occupying first base, the game hanging in the balance, the Yankees starter skillfully induced feeble contact from Trent Grisham, resulting in a softly hit ground ball. However, the momentum shifted unfavorably when Gleyber Torres committed an error in the play. Shortly after, Luis Severino’s outing concluded, and reliever Michael King took over. Unfortunately, King was unable to prevent one of the inherited runners from crossing home plate, allowing the Padres to seize the lead.

As the Yankees celebrated their victory, the mood in Yankeeland was brimming with happiness, especially for Luis Severino. He has faced numerous challenging years, plagued by injuries that limited him to just 33 appearances since the 2018 season, including the playoffs. However, the tides have turned, and Severino is now flourishing once again, showcasing his resiliency and resilience on the mound.

Luis Severino expressed his hope to contribute to his team’s success, stating, “I aim to be a valuable asset for my team moving forward.” As he entered the ballpark, he couldn’t help but notice how fitting the pinstripes looked on him, instilling him with a sense of confidence. He aspires to continue performing at a high level in the iconic Yankees uniform for an extended period.

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