Luis Severino the 21-year old rookie right hand prospect of the New York Yankees may be what their rotation needs to make it better as the team strives to hold on to a division lead and head to the postseason. That much anticipated debut in the Bronx Wednesday night ended in an unfortunate loss, but the Yankees feel a bit more comfortable with Michael Pineda on the disabled list and not scheduled for a return anytime soon.
And with the Yankees offense not needing any help, scoring 59 runs in four of their last seven games, the ever important commodity of pitching had been more of a concern. GM Brian Cashman sat idle during the trading deadline and now we know why.
Luis Severino has arrived, and though the Yankees lost the second of three to the Boston Red Sox 2-1. the rookie did not disappoint. The fastball that was highly touted and the command were on display for the first time before a sold out crowd at Yankee Stadium.
If it were not for a throwing error on a ball thrown from third by Chase Headley to first in the second inning, that led to an unearned run, and if the Yankees had figured a way to hit the knuckle ball of Steven Wright, Serverino could have earned his first win as a big leaguer.
He is what the Yankees and their organization have been talking about since spring training. And after this start, becoming the first pitcher in AL history to debut with two hits or fewer, no walks and at least seven strikeouts, there is every reason to believe Severino will not be going back to Triple-A anytime soon.
“He’s got poise,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “”I told you I didn’t think his surroundings would affect him a whole lot. We saw that in spring training. I definitely think it’s a positive for him and what he could mean for us moving forward.”
Cashman would not part with Severino at the trading deadline last week. Though the Yankees were comfortable with their offense, opposing teams were looking for pitching and the GM stuck to his guns. Severino was the future and more importantly could be of help down the stretch.
With the uncertainty of a Masahiro Tanaka elbow, a declining CC Sabathia, the inconsistency of Ivan Nova and Pineda on the disabled list. Severino was needed. Scouts said the Dominican Republic native has composure and the fastball and slider are impressive. Prior to his debut at Yankee Stadium, he pitched seven games with Triple A Scranton going 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA and there was the quick jump from Double.
There was that composure to regroup like a veteran. David Ortiz hit a fastball that wasn’t meant to go down the middle in the fourth inning. The 2-0 pitch went deep to right field in the bleachers that gave Boston their decisive run.
It was a welcome to the big leagues and there will be more home run balls thrown in the years to come, but Severino is not known for allowing many, throwing none in a little over 61 innings pitched at Scranton. What was more impressive, and something that stood out with Girardi and the Yankees. is how Severino settled down after the home run ball and he followed up striking out Hanley Ramirez and Mike Napoli on 94-mile fastballs.
When asked about the difference of pitching in Triple-A and throwing now to big league hitters, Severino said through an interpreter, “In this league when you make a mistake you pay for it.”
“I didn’t try to strike out anybody,” he said about the seven strikeouts and the one to Napoli, he claimed was the most impressive. “I feel the same way as in Double-A and Triple-A. It’s the same baseball.” He threw 94 pitches in 5.0 innings and gave up the two hits.
Said Carlos Beltran about Severino, who hit his ninth home run to right field in the seventh inning off Wright, accounting for the Yankees lone run, “He is going to get better.”
And Severino will get better as the Yankees go down the stretch. It is not the same now because the bright lights are shining on him and the Yankees hope his arm will carry them to make their rotation that is not great, at least better.