SEATTLE – A day after new acquisitions David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier settled in with their new team, the New York Yankees traveled out west to take on the Seattle Mariners, looking for their first series win since June 11th. A sharp Luis Severino helped the Bronx Bombers grab a win, 4-1, improving their away record to 3-11 against AL West teams this season.
Yankees are 0-8-2 in last 10 series, their longest stretch without a series win since 1991 (via @EliasSports).
Brett Gardner provided a big blast in the top of the sixth inning, finally ending the stalemate between Severino and Felix Hernandez. King Felix had his best stuff on Thursday night, but his offense had nothing to show for his quality start. Severino is quickly becoming the most trustworthy pitcher on the entire Yankees’ staff. He threw seven scoreless innings while also adding six strikeouts to his tremendous tally this year. He told reporters, “I enjoy it. I knew it was going to be tough every time I face a guy like Felix; I just tried to bring my A stuff, tried to make pitches, tried to get hitters out.”
The 23-year-old power thrower has transformed after struggling mightily last year, but what has been the key to Severino’s success? The answer: His ability to finish hitters off when he has two strikes on them and not over throwing the baseball. When he pitched against the Mariners last season, he allowed four earned runs over 5.2 innings pitched and was awarded a loss. One of the best hitters on the Mariners, Nelson Cruz, was able to rattle off two hits against Severino because of the young righty’s inability to finish off a batter when he had him 0-2.
However, in Thursday night’s game, Severino showed the poise of a veteran pitcher against Cruz when he set him down with a nasty breaking ball, down in the dirt. In this particular at-bat, Cruz took two balls right away, but Severino delivered two quality pitches to even the count back at 2-2. Instead of leaving a pitch for Cruz to hit over the plate, Severino baited him into swinging at a pitch down and away.
Luis Severino isn’t intimidated by going up against other teams’ aces. pic.twitter.com/TTRXfUes9V
And this is what has transformed Luis Severino into an All-Star pitcher. He is no longer missing his location with his fastball, and he certainly is not lacking confidence anymore. Even Mariners’ manager Scott Servais was impressed by the quality of Severino’s performance. “Severino was as good as we’ve seen all year,” he said. “We’ve had some well-pitched games against us, but just the stuff that he fired out there, you don’t see guys carry the velocity that late in the ballgame.”
Most Starts of 7+ IP and 1 or fewer Runs This Season:
If Severino continues to pitch as well as he has for the Yankees, he will be the ace of the staff for the foreseeable future.