NEW YORK — On September 21, 2021, Luis Severino’s 6’2” frame hovered over the Yankee Stadium mound for the first time since facing the Houston Astros in the 2019 ALCS. The then 27-year-old would face a Texas Rangers lineup with the anxious sting of uncertainty lingering. The unknown thought of what his future would be like after Tommy John surgery remained the biggest question mark the New York Yankees faced as they possessed the deepest desire to be one of the fiercest teams in baseball.
Fast forward to Friday night under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium, Severino continued to prove that his body has no limits in the Yankees’ quest for their 28th championship. In the Yankees’ 2-1 walk-off win against the Chicago Cubs, Severino struck out a season-high 10 batters — the first time in his career he’s fanned 10 in consecutive starts — in six innings, allowing seven hits, one walk after throwing 103 pitches (70 pitches for strikes, a season-high). One of the Yankees’ most visually exuberant pitchers was met with a slew of congratulations, high-fives, and slaps on the back as he trotted down the Yankees dugout as his night came to an end.
“Awesome, awesome,” were the words Yankees manager Aaron Boone uttered when describing Severino’s six-inning outing. “To put us in a good position to win a baseball game and then the bullpen was terrific.”
The Yankees bullpen, which included solo innings from Miguel Castro, Michael King, Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta, Ron Marinaccio, and two innings from Clarke Schmidt, pitched a total of seven scoreless innings, giving the Yankees every opportunity to pull out the extra-innings win.
“We have a great team,” Severino said as he spoke about the Yankees’ ability to find ways to win. “We’ve got a great combination. Starting pitching, hitters and the bullpen, and so you know, hopefully, we can keep going, you know, I remember like, the first month everyone was freaking out about hating or not winning and how, you know, we back on track and hopefully we can continue to do that.”
Severino made his Major League debut on August 5, 2015, becoming an instant target to lead the new generation of Yankee pitching. Despite being familiar with the injured list in his eight years in the majors, Severino has shown that his mental fortitude remains unscathed through career setbacks, that alone has set him afloat in baseball’s most rigorous and strenuous pitching environment.
After his 11th start of the season, the 28-year-old has paced himself for a successful year. In a rotation surrounded by four-time All-Star Gerrit Cole, Yankees ERA leader Nestor Cortes (1.96 ERA), Jameson Taillon, and Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees find themselves harboring a resilient core to lead them through the 2022 season.
Despite the All-Star and MVP-caliber lineup, the glue that has carried the Bronx Bombers to 40-plus wins in early June has been the enforcers that have limited each opponent’s ability to score runs. The Yankees pitchers have summed a league-high 2.88 ERA. The starting rotation has a combined 2.86 ERA (2nd in MLB, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2.65 ERA), while their bullpen has strummed up a 2.92 ERA (4th in MLB).
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