BOSTON -- Luis Severino's adrenaline rushed as he dialed the prized digits, having scored Pedro Martinez's phone number from a mutual acquaintance. It was a call he had to make; if anyone knew how to consistently dominate a big league lineup, it would be the Hall of Fame right-hander.Maybe that
BOSTON -- Luis Severino's adrenaline rushed as he dialed the prized digits, having scored Pedro Martinez's phone number from a mutual acquaintance. It was a call he had to make; if anyone knew how to consistently dominate a big league lineup, it would be the Hall of Fame right-hander.
Maybe that was the secret behind Severino's confident tempo as he whipped seven scoreless innings in the Yankees' 3-1 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday, permitting just three hits and striking out six on the very mound where Martinez authored some of his most legendary moments.
"We worked a lot on mechanics and stuff," Severino said of Martinez. "I was trying to not rush to the plate, be calm, and with men in scoring position trying to make a good pitch or get a double play or get an out."
While it would be a stretch to say those sessions with Martinez are solely responsible for Severino's success, they certainly couldn't have hurt. Fenway had never been kind to Severino, where he had a 9.53 ERA before Wednesday.
"My confidence right now is very good," Severino said. "I was making good pitches. I wasn't thinking about left field or the Green Monster or whatever. I was just trying to throw everything I've got."
"Big velocity, good slider, changeup to left-handers to slow some hitters down, I think what we're seeing is a young pitcher starting to come into his own," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Wednesday marked Severino's first career start with seven or more scoreless innings, and his third straight outing reaching seven innings. Over that span, Severino has permitted five earned runs and 11 hits in 22 innings (2.04 ERA), striking out 27 against three walks.
His biggest test Wednesday came in the fourth inning, when Severino induced Hanley Ramirez to hit into a rally-killing double play. Catcher Austin Romine said that Severino's improved fastball command has made a huge difference.
"I can get on the corner and he can dot me up at the knee at 98, 99 [mph]," Romine said. "When you've got a guy doing that, and throw some changeups in there with it, it keeps them off-balance. You go back and forth. We were pitching in a lot tonight, more than normal, I would say. He was following me. We had a game plan, we stuck to it, and he located a lot of his heaters."
The Yankees instructed Severino to focus on his changeup this past offseason, and while that pitch has shown progress, he hasn't needed to deviate much from the fastball-slider combo.
Of his 100 pitches on Wednesday, Severino threw 57 fastballs (registering between 95-100 mph), 31 sliders, and 12 changeups. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he hopes Wednesday's outing will encourage Severino to continue taking steps forward.
"I said all along, I thought the location of his fastball was a big key for him this year," Girardi said. "He's been much, much better and he did it against a very good lineup tonight. It should give him confidence. The ability is there."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.