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Severino Impressed In First Start

Latino Sports: Dan Badasoff

Bronx, New York- Luis Severino had an arsenal of pitches to play with at Yankee Stadium Saturday afternoon and it worked to perfection in his first start since 2019. The Yankees bullpen did not allow a hit in six innings, Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo hit home runs in consecutive days.

The Yankees with a 4-2 win took their second straight from the Red Sox to begin the season.

But the headline is Severino. He follows Gerrit Cole in the starting rotation and following an extensive rehab from Tommy John surgery manager Aaron Boone was not expecting the right hander to throw more than 60 pitches.

Except for a Single, double and two-run homer to Alex Verdugo in the second inning, Severino settled in and was removed after throwing 65 pitches in three innings. There was a 12-pitch at bat to Christian Vazquez and a cutter hit to the mound putting an end to the inning.

But there has to be optimism with this first start because an effective Severino that follows Cole in the rotation gives the Yankees a good one-two punch, though the next start will be another indication and a test when it comes to extensive innings on the mound.

Regardless, Severino was encouraging and so was the Yankees bullpen which is another strength and that will continue to be a factor as the season progresses during the month of April.

Take this to another level because If Severino can continue this comeback with an effective cutter to go along with a slider, fastball, and changeup, then the Yankees may not need to be concerned about looking for another viable arm in their rotation.

“I’m just playing with different shapes of the slider,” Severino said. “I’ve got a big one and a small one. I think when I was a starter two, three years ago, I didn’t have those kinds of pitches. Then after I got injured, my changeup got even better so I’m throwing a lot of changeups now.”

Severino said he throws the change in the middle and the result is the pitch goes low in the zone. When the pitch goes to the outside it catches the corner.

The fastball got away to Verdugo that went in the right field stands. He got through the third inning and after Trevor Story led off the fourth with a single his day was done. That fastball averaged 97.7 a test in itself and he threw 32 pitches in the second inning.

“I feel pretty good,” Severino said. “I’ll see how I wake up tomorrow. I saw the velocity was pretty good. I wasn’t expecting to be that high. Right now, I’m just expecting to face the next team.”

As of now, Severino will be scheduled for his next start in the rotation which could come Thursday evening in the Bronx against the Blue Jays. Yes, it’s only two games into a long season ahead for the Yankees but the fact they have a healthy Severino on the mound is important.

He mentioned the home run to Verdugo. He said it was the hardest ball hit and the others in that inning were all from soft contact. But there was that concern about a volume of pitches that were thrown that put the Yankees in an early hole they were able to overcome with the home runs from Stanton and Gallo.

“But the Red Sox are a really good team,” Severino said. “We can beat those guys.”

Indeed the Yankees are making an early statement these first two games against their arch rivals that eliminated them in October up in Boston in the one-game AL wild card.

Then it was Cole on the mound who was not effective. And the Yankees’ at bats were cold as they were most of last season that got them a last spot into the wild card game and allowed Tampa Bay to easily win the AL east division.

The Yankees are getting production these first two games with the home run ball. Stanton and Gallo provided the only runs that were enough to get them off to a 2-0 start with one remaining against the Red Sox Sunday night to close their first series of the season.

“He can strike out three times and get then hit a homer,”Severino said about Stanton. “Nobody knows what to expect. He is a power guy. Even when he doesn’t hit the ball hard, it’s going to be a homer. I don’t want to face him of course. I don’t want to be in the news.”

But Severino was in the news Saturday afternoon and it was all good for the Yankees.

Rich Mancuso is a senior writer for Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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