Luis Severino entered Saturday’s game without having won a decision in his last four starts, including his most recent performance, in which he allowed six earned runs in just 5 1/3 innings during an 8-1 drubbing by the Houston Astros.
It looked like Severino was headed down that same path when he encountered trouble in the first. A controversial hit-by-pitch call on Milwaukee’s Travis Shaw was upheld after video review, and Joe Girardi nearly got tossed as he argued that the umpire made the call based on the batter’s reaction.
“I don’t like the call because he reacted to the hitter, so if you react to the hitter on a check-swing, you don’t do it there,” Girardi said. “If you don’t see it, ask. You can always replay it. So I don’t like him calling it hit him because the player basically said it hit him. If you don’t see it, don’t call it. And then if you want to go to replay, go to replay.”
The crowd of 40,224 at the Stadium erupted as the ball appeared to just miss hitting Shaw, but after an 80-second review the call was upheld.
Domingo Santana then hit a three-run homer, which could have been a fatal blow for Severino.
But it didn’t faze the young righty, who showed his maturation by settling in to strike out 10 in seven innings without allowing another run.
“Right now I have a pitch that I can go to in my changeup,” Severino said after the game. “Last year I didn’t have that pitch or my fastball command. So when I do make a mistake like that, I just say, ‘OK, that happened,’ and keep moving.”
And that’s exactly what the young righthander did as he followed up with six-consecutive shutout innings while recording double-digit strikeouts for the fourth time this season.
“Every time they give me the ball I want to go out there and give the team a chance to win,” Severino said.
Severino kept his composure and remained poised throughout the game, showing the signs of maturity in the wake of failure that were missing last season when he was demoted to Triple-A after a dismal (0-6, 7.46 ERA) start.
“He never let the game get out of hand,” Girardi said.
One year later, Severino is headed to his first career All-Star game and proving that he can be the front-end starter the Yankees need him to be moving forward.
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