ARLINGTON -- Luis Severino's first two outings of the season could not have been smoother, swelling the Yankees' expectations as they march toward the postseason. His third showcased a few more bumps, though the right-hander bounced back enough to steal some positives as he eyes a potential start in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan.
After a 33-pitch first inning in which he permitted a pair of double steals and committed an error, Severino struck out the side in the second inning, then pitched around a walk and error in the third. The Rangers pulled away against New York's bullpen, as Rougned Odor capped a six-RBI performance with a grand slam in Texas' 9-4 victory.
"That was not my best start today, but that doesn't matter," Severino said. "The most important thing is that I feel healthy. Nothing is bothering me right now. That's the main goal."
Odor stroked a two-run double in the first inning off Severino, who said that he "didn't feel like myself" on the mound. He had fired nine scoreless frames over his first two starts against the Angels and Blue Jays since returning from right shoulder and right lat injuries.
It was the only hit permitted by Severino, who walked four and struck out four, throwing 44 of 72 pitches for strikes. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that despite the difficult first inning, he believes Severino appears ready to take on the challenge of postseason baseball.
"No question, I am pleased with where he's at," Boone said. "I think this was a little bit of a tuneup. I think he'll be a guy that when we hand him a ball in the postseason, we're going to feel like we have a really good shot."
Jose Trevino stroked a fourth-inning RBI double off David Hale, who was activated from the injured list prior to the game.
Odor quickly cleared the bases, slugging what could be the final grand slam hit at Globe Life Park, which will close with Sunday's 3:05 p.m. ET season finale. Didi Gregorius stroked a three-run double in the ninth inning, a welcome sign as the shortstop grinds through a 15-for-75 (.200) September.
The Yankees have not set their playoff rotation, but Severino said he is looking forward to another crack at the Twins, who knocked him out in the first inning of his postseason debut by scoring three runs in the 2017 AL Wild Card Game.
"They have a good lineup, but we have a good lineup too," Severino said. "We will see. I faced them in 2017; that wasn't good, but we won that day. I can get revenge for what happened there."
Here comes the Judge
The Yankees opened the scoring in the first inning, when Aaron Judge stroked his fourth career triple and came home on Brett Gardner's sacrifice fly.
Judge initially thought that he'd homered off Texas starter Luke Farrell -- even slapping hands with first-base coach Reggie Willits -- then had to turn on the burners as he charged into third base with a headfirst slide.
"He was coming right at me, too," Boone said. "The good thing is it was a good slide, but it was definitely a hold-your-breath moment. ... We're always trying to coach our guys to play smart and within themselves."
Edwin Encarnación had been expected to return to the lineup this weekend, but those plans have been nixed, as the slugger is not confident that his left oblique strain is ready for game action.
Instead, Encarnación said he will participate in simulated games next week at Yankee Stadium, which he believes should prepare him to be in the lineup for Game 1 of the ALDS.
"I've been swinging," Encarnación said. "Not 100 percent yet, but close -- 80, 85. It feels good. I've been taking ground balls, I've been playing catch, I've been running. I've been doing everything."