NEW YORK -- It had been 907 days since Yankees right-hander Luis Severino made his last start. Then he found himself on the mound to start the game on Saturday, and pitched three-plus innings while allowing two runs in a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Severino’s last start before Saturday was Game 3 of the 2019 American League Championship Series against the Astros. In that game, he faced Gerrit Cole, now his teammate, and lost 4-1 after throwing 4 1/3 innings and allowing two earned runs. Severino would miss most of the next two seasons because of shoulder and elbow injuries.
Yes, it had been two-plus years since making his last start, but Severino wasn’t nervous when he stepped onto the Yankee Stadium mound.
“I was feeling very good,” Severino said. “It’s been a long time, but I remember very well how it feels [to be a starter]. I was trying to get everybody out.”
Severino threw 65 pitches against Boston, most of them -- 31 -- coming in the second inning. He even threw 12 pitches to Christian Vázquez before inducing a groundout to end the inning. Manager Aaron Boone was considering taking Severino out of the game that inning, but didn’t make the move until the top of the fourth.
“I think that [at-bat] took me out of the game [an inning-plus later],” Severino said. “That’s going to happen during the season. It was a good battle. I was trying to just get him out by throwing it right down the middle with a fastball. In the end, I threw that breaking ball to get him out.”
Severino’s only blemish came in that same inning, when he allowed a two-run homer to left fielder Alex Verdugo to give Boston a 2-0 lead. If velocity is any indication, it seems his arm problems are behind him. Severino threw hard for most of his outing: His fastball averaged 97.7 mph and maxed out at 100.3 mph. He also threw his changeup, cutter and slider.
“[Besides the homer], everything was [soft] contact,” Severino said. “But the Red Sox are a really good team. We can beat those guys.”
Teammate Anthony Rizzo was impressed with what he saw from Severino.
“He has electric stuff like in the 100s,” Rizzo said. “He gives up the homer and [Vázquez] had a good at-bat against him. He didn’t give in and got him out. It’s good to see him back in a good way today.”
In his next start in five days, Severino hopes to throw 75 to 80 pitches, with Saturday’s start serving as a building block for the right-hander, according to Boone. Severino is expected to make his next start against the Blue Jays on Thursday night.
“I’ll feel pretty good. I’ll see how I wake up tomorrow,” Severino said. “I saw the velocity was pretty good. I wasn’t expecting to be that high. Right now, I’m just expecting to face the next team.”
Severino ended up with a no-decision, thanks to two-run homers by Rizzo in the fourth inning and Giancarlo Stanton two innings later. Severino was impressed by Stanton’s game-winner.
“[Stanton] is unforgettable,” Severino said. “He can strike out three times and then hit a homer … Nobody knows what to expect. He is a power guy. Even when he doesn’t hit the ball hard, it’s going to be a homer. So it’s great to have Giancarlo on the team. I don’t want to face him, of course. I don’t want to be in the news.”