Yankees’ rotation finds new life with Luis Severino’s ‘electric’ debut

Yankees starter Luis-Severino is pitching against the Reds on May 21, 2023.

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Making his first appearance of the 2023 season, Luis Severino returned to the mound following his recovery from a lat strain. He encountered a shaky start by walking the initial batter on a full count. However, despite this initial setback, Luis Severino showcased an overall impressive performance in his first outing this season.

Luis Severino’s solid performance continued as he surrendered only one unusual earned run, which will be elaborated upon shortly. Throughout his 4.2 innings on the mound, the right-hander displayed strength by limiting the opposition to just four hits while striking out five and issuing only one walk. Luis Severino remained within his prescribed pitch count, throwing 75 pitches with 54 of them finding the strike zone, precisely meeting the intended target. Notably, the Yankees starter demonstrated his velocity by reaching 99 mph on his fastball, showcasing his arm strength.

Luis Severino came close to qualifying for a win but fell just one out short of reaching his 75-pitch limit. Harrison Bader expressed his admiration for Luis Severino’s return to the mound, praising his work ethic, staff, and energy. From his perspective in the center field, Bader described the starter as electric, and he couldn’t contain his happiness about having him back.

According to manager Aaron Boone, Luis Severino displayed sharpness overall in his performance.

With the competition heating up in the AL East, which is widely regarded as the strongest division in baseball, the Yankees have high hopes of using the term “sharp” to describe Severino’s performance many more times as they strive to make their mark in the race.

Luis Severino’s return was worth the wait

After sustaining a lat strain in the final week of spring training, Luis Severino’s return to the mound took longer than initially anticipated. Despite undergoing rehab, he has not fully regained his previous level of endurance.

However, with a pitch count limit of 75, Luis Severino showcased his resilience and contributed to the Yankees’ 4-1 victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Despite not being completely built up, he displayed promising signs during his season debut.

Throughout the game, Luis Severino’s performance improved as he settled into his rhythm. Over the course of 4 ²/₃ innings, he struck out five batters and allowed only one run. Notably, he finished strong by retiring nine of the last ten hitters he faced.

Luis Severino of the New York Yankees

Luis Severino expressed confidence in his performance, stating that he felt good. He believed he effectively attacked the strike zone, especially after the first walk. Overall, he was pleased with his outing, describing it as a strong performance.

As the game progressed, Luis Severino gradually increased his fastball velocity. He averaged 96.7 mph with his fastball, showcasing his arm strength. He reached a peak velocity of 98.6 mph during a strikeout of Kevin Newman in the fifth inning. Eight out of the 12 swings and misses Luis Severino recorded came from his fastball, indicating its effectiveness in generating swings and misses from the opposing batters.

Luis Severino’s highly anticipated comeback provided the ideal conclusion to a successful 6-1 road trip, which was highlighted by a thrilling four-game series against the top-ranked Rays, featuring three closely contested one-run games.

Luis Severino saved bullets for the end

During the fifth inning, Luis Severino acknowledged glancing up at the scoreboard to check his velocity and appeared pleased with the readings he observed. The Yankees starter mentioned that he had intentionally conserved some energy for the later part of the game, aware that his pitch count would be limited. He expressed the desire to ensure his readiness and effectiveness on the mound.

Luis Severino, who is in the last year of his contract, may need to wait for at least two more starts before the Yankees fully unleash him. This cautious approach is necessary due to his history of frequent injuries.

When Luis Severino is in optimal health and performing at his best, he has the potential to be one of the premier pitchers in the league. This was evident in Sunday’s game, where he showcased glimpses of his exceptional abilities and demonstrated why he is highly regarded.

He took the mound on Sunday to replace Domingo German in the rotation. German, who would have been scheduled to start, is currently serving a 10-game suspension resulting from a failed foreign substance check that took place on Tuesday in Toronto.

Following Luis Severino’s departure, the Yankees’ bullpen impressively retired 11 consecutive batters until the Reds managed to load the bases with two outs in the ninth inning. The bullpen’s exceptional performance played a significant role in the team’s successful 6-1 road trip, boasting a remarkable 1.34 ERA throughout the seven games.

Boone expressed his satisfaction with the team’s recent road trip, referring to it as a “great trip.” Despite facing a challenging stretch of playing 33 games out of 34 days, the Yankees have remained resilient and competitive. Despite injuries and setbacks, Boone commended the team’s determination and highlighted their ability to approach each game with an edge, strong preparation, and a high level of competition.

Yankees rotation inches closer to get its full strength

Luis Severino’s extended absence due to lat strains has resulted in him missing a significant portion of the past 10 months, creating a sense that the Yankee rotation was lacking something.

Carlos Rodon
Twitter-NYY

The addition of Carlos Rodon to the Yankees’ roster is necessary to complete the team’s pitching rotation. However, the highlight of a highly successful road trip, which revived the Yankees’ season that some believed was on the brink of cancellation, was the return of Luis Severino to the mound on Sunday around 11:40 am.

The selection of the Yankees game by Peacock for streaming was not a deliberate decision based on their knowledge of Luis Severino’s debut in his ninth season with the team.

Luis Severino had a sluggish start, but he quickly gained momentum as the game progressed. His four-seam fastballs averaged approximately 96 mph and showcased his increasing strength. Observers of the game witnessed a pitcher making a comeback, hitting 97 and 98 mph in his later innings. Notably, Luis Severino established control by throwing first-pitch strikes to 13 out of 18 hitters he faced.

The Yankees starter expressed to reporters that he was pleased with his overall pitch mix during the game. He mentioned that everything was working well for him, as he consistently located his pitches in the strike zone. He specifically highlighted the effectiveness of his changeup, which generated positive results. Additionally, Luis Severino mentioned that his breaking ball was performing exceptionally, as evidenced by batters swinging at it.

As the game progressed, Luis Severino gave his all in the fifth inning, knowing that he had a chance to secure a win. Although he fell just one out short of achieving that outcome, there was a general agreement among the Yankees that their rotation was gradually returning to a more stable state. This sentiment was particularly relevant as the team prepared for their upcoming crucial series against the Baltimore Orioles, which held significant importance in the regular season, comparable to the Labor Day weekend series back in 2012.

Bader praised Luis Severino

“It’s amazing seeing him back on the mound,” Bader told. “I got a really good view from center field — he’s electric. I couldn’t have been more happy he’s back.”

Bader’s assessment of the situation is difficult to dispute, especially considering the circumstances surrounding Luis Severino. The right-hander is entering his free agent year and has proven his worth with 23 starts under a well-deserved four-year, $40 million extension he signed. At the time of the extension, Severino had just come off an impressive 19-win season, following a successful 14-win campaign in the exciting 2017 season, during which the Yankees reached Game 7 of the ALCS.

Since that time, Severino has been plagued by injuries, with the most recent two being particularly frustrating. The right-hander expressed his annoyance in August of the previous year when the Yankees placed him on the 60-day injured list shortly after he strained his lat muscle, a setback that occurred just a month after he surrendered three consecutive home runs to the Reds.

Bader expressed his admiration for Severino’s pitching performance, highlighting the impressive quality of his stuff and how well it worked on the field. From his vantage point in center field, Bader had a clear view of Severino’s electric performance, and he couldn’t contain his excitement about the right-hander’s return. Bader acknowledged that Severino had a great outing, and he eagerly anticipated what the future held for him.

Yankees pitchers

The Yankees, apart from the days when Gerrit Cole takes the mound, have faced challenges with their rotation this season. Heading into Sunday’s game, their starting pitchers had accumulated a combined record of 10-12 and a 5.14 ERA. This can be attributed to occasional struggles from Nestor Cortes, inconsistent performances from Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt, and some shaky moments from Jhonny Brito as the team awaited Severino’s comeback.

Ever since his debut on August 5, 2015, where he contributed to an 87-win team against the Boston Red Sox, there has always been a sense of anticipation whenever Luis Severino took the mound. The excitement continued to build during the 2018 season and had its moments in the previous season as well, particularly when Severino played a part in a one-hitter against Detroit on June 4. This remarkable performance came just a day after Cole nearly pitched a perfect game into the seventh inning, further adding to the thrill surrounding Luis Severino’s appearances.

Boone conveyed his enthusiasm for the team’s impressive level of competition, highlighting their focused approach, preparation, and exceptional performance. He emphasized that the team is currently executing at a high level and commended their consistent drive to succeed.

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