Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez placed the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry aside on Tuesday night. It didn’t matter to him that his beloved team from Boston came up just short in the first of three games in the Bronx this week.
Instead, Martinez was fixated on Luis Severino — one of his young apprentices — and all he could offer the Yankees’ young ace was a great compliment for a job well done.
“Severino is maturing before our eyes. He has the tools to become the best pitcher in the Big Leagues,” Martinez said on Twitter.
Severino is maturing in front of our eyes. He has all the tools to become the best pitcher in the Big Leagues
Although Severino earned a hard luck no-decision, he still managed to toss a gem against the Red Sox. In six innings, the 24-year-old allowed just two hits and two runs, while also striking out a season-high 11 batters in the Yankees’ 3-2 win.
Just one week ago, Severino threw a complete-game shutout against the defending champion Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park, so his latest outing at Yankee Stadium wasn’t his best.
And that says a lot.
In eight starts this season, Severino is 5-1 with a 2.21 ERA. He has 63 strikeouts in 53 innings, and that mark is tied for fifth-best in the league. Severino’s only poor start came against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in mid April (five runs in five innings), but that performance no longer shows up in the rearview mirror. Severino resembles a legitimate Cy Young candidate once again.
And Martinez deserves a good chunk of credit for Severino’s revival. In the past two winters, Martinez has worked with Severino in the Dominican Republic, and it’s clear that Martinez’s advice helped Severino make the necessary adjustments to his mechanics and delivery.
“It’s not every day that you get to work with a player like that, a Hall of Famer, who decides to help you,” Severino said of Martinez in an ESPN.com story last June. “It feels incredible. He is a great person. I would have never thought Pedro Martínez would be like that. It was an incredible moment.”
Of course, Red Sox fans aren’t too thrilled that Martinez was the player assisting a Yankee. But Martinez explained to Boston’s WEEI radio in February that his relationship with Severino goes well beyond the storied rivalry.
“Our duty as retired players and players that have been through the game and had some success in the game is to pass along what we learned, how we did it, how it worked for us, just in case it works for them,” Martinez said. “And Severino is one special guy, because Severino ever since he signed, the picture he had was my baseball card hanging on his locker all over. The video he would look at on his phone was my video, every single day. I was his idol because he was young and he got to see me actually in my prime and I was the one he fell in love with. He didn’t know he was going to sign with the Yankees when he was watching me.
“So, he fell in love before he signed with the Yankees and as he became a Yankee, he wanted to do things like me. As a matter of fact, it must be great to be good because the little things that I relayed to Severino, who deserved all the credit, it seems like are falling to me. But in reality, it’s Severino doing it and adjusting to little things I thought I could correct.”
It’s clear that Martinez is impressed with Severino’s progress. And his compliment on Twitter demonstrates why he and the Yankees believe Severino has quite a high ceiling as a major league starter.