Luis Severino pitched eight innings of four-hit shutout ball as the Yankees beat Kansas City 3-0 on Wednesday night.
“That was really good,” Joe Girardi said. “We needed it from Sevey. He got really deep into the game for us and did a great job.”
It was the best start of Severino’s young career. “He used everything and located extremely well,” Girardi said. “He used his slider effectively, he used the inside to lefties, away from lefties. He used his fastball extremely well. Just everything.”
Usually Girardi doesn’t hesitate to go to his bullpen but he let Severino work through a one-out single in the eighth as the righty threw a career-high 114 pitches, 73 for strikes.
“He’s a guy, I feel that his stuff doesn’t really fall off a whole lot,” Girardi said of Severino, who was throwing as hard as 98 MPH in the eighth. “And that he can get deep into games. And I’ve kind of felt that the whole year and you can kind of slowly build him up to that point. Today’s probably as far as I’ve ever pushed him but I felt that his stuff was still really good.”
Is this the same pitcher that went 0-8 with an ERA of 8.50 as a starter last season? He did go 3-0 with an ERA of 0.39 in 11 appearances out of the bullpen. And he has had much better command of his pitches in 2017.
While the velocity was nice and effective, his secondary pitches were also getting the job done on Wednesday. Brandon Moss struck out swinging on a 3-2 slider to begin the eighth, and Alex Gordon went down swinging on a 3-2 change for the second out.
“I think he started to feel better in spring training with it,” Girardi said of Severino’s secondary pitches. “I’m not so sure he ever really felt comfortable with it last year and probably understood the importance of it, but I would say spring training.”
“My command was really bad,” Severino said of last season’s struggles. “I had a lot of bad outings. My changeup wasn’t there. So this year I feel more comfortable with my changeup.”
Severino had gone 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts in 2015 before scuffling as a starter in 2016. But Wednesday’s gem was the kind of performance that the Yankees were counting on from him.
Severino has electric stuff and the team is hoping it’s something be can harness consistently.