BALTIMORE — Luis Severino basically missed the last three years. The right-hander battled injuries and he only made a handful of appearances. So the Yankees didn’t know what was in store for them this season. They didn’t know if he would be as good as he was in 2018 or if he could contribute in a significant way in the season.
In his seven season starts, Severino is answering the question. Again on Monday night, he not only showed that he still has the talent that made him a Cy Young candidate in 2018, but that he is a more mature pitcher. He pitched six one-hit innings as the Yankees beat the Orioles 6-2 at Camden Yards.
“Before the game, [catcher Jose] Treviño and I made a game plan. We stick with that plan. The fastball was really good, the breaking balls were outstanding today and they changed as well, so I think when that day is over I feel like we’re pretty good,” Severino said. “When I can control my fastball and throw my break [pitches] true and also my change you know, I can do it quite well.”
The Yankees (26-9) have won two in a row, six of their last seven and 21 of their last 25. They held the best record in baseball.
Trevino hit a three-run homer in the top of the fourth to give the Yankees the winning margin. He was the catcher’s first home run of the season and the first home run by a Yankees catcher this season. It was Treviño’s first home run since Oct. 1, 2021, and the 10th of his career. Josh Donaldson connected for his fifth of the season, and third in the last five games, in the top of the ninth. Anthony Rizzo followed up with his 10th and first since April 29. That was also the last time the Yankees hit back-to-back home runs. Giancarlo Stanton doubled on a drive to left field, allowing Rizzo to score.
Severino limited the Orioles to one run and one hit in six innings of work. He allowed a home run to Anthony Santander in the fourth inning. He walked two and struck out seven.
He got out of trouble early when Joey Gallo missed Cedric Mullins’ fly ball to left field on a three-base error. Severino walked Trey Mancini to put runners on the corners, but got a big double play from Gleyber Torres and then grounded out to end the threat.
“It was so good. I thought he had all his releases going. I thought it had really good heaters, sliders, and shifters. They are all a factor. I thought he was in some situations where he needed to throw a pitch and he was able to do it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And then I thought he late he smelled the finish line there. He took another drive on the fastball from him, so it was a good start for him.”
Severino pitched just 27.2 innings from 2019 to 2021 due to injuries. He had a lateral tear in 2019 and then a torn ulnar collateral ligament in 2020 that required Tommy John surgery. Entering this season, even though he had pitched four innings at the end of 2021 and 1.1 in the Wild Card Game, there were concerns about how deep the right-hander might go into the season.
The Yankees used Jameson Taillon and Corey Kluber, who were coming off injuries last season, as a guide. That would put him around 120 innings this season, but the Yankees are taking a flexible, wait-and-see approach to managing his workload.
“Honestly, I haven’t heard a number spoken. So I would say it’s still very fluid,” Boone said. “Just like we chose a place when we had the rains, we located it again. I could see us doing that all summer long, assuming everything is still going well when you have a day off…maybe just slide it back. Maybe pick a spot where we’ll come up short on a start if we have a bad day and the bullpen is wise.
So not hard and fast [limit] as if we weren’t exceeding this number. We’ll just monitor and, to the best of our ability, assess where he is as his season unfolds, but we’re encouraged by what we’ve seen so far.”