Severino's bounce-back start offset by Shohei

July 18th, 2023

ANAHEIM -- The chants of “M-V-P!” rained down from every seating area of Angel Stadium on Monday night. As the injured Aaron Judge watched the proceedings from the visitors’ dugout, the scene could have felt like a snapshot from last summer. But these cheers were for Shohei Ohtani, because this seems to be his year.

Michael King’s reaction said it all. Seeing Ohtani tee off on his 35th homer, a two-run drive in the seventh inning, the reliever owned the best view in the house for an epic Ohtani bat flip -- an instant highlight-reel moment that provided an exclamation point for the home team in the Yankees’ 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Angels.

“I wish it wasn’t at my expense, but he’s an incredible hitter,” King said. “We knew, as a team, that we didn’t want him to be the one to beat us. Unfortunately, I got greedy in a two-strike count and tried to make a better pitch than I needed to. I can’t let him be the one that beat us, and I did today.”

As for the bat flip, King said: “If you’re going to tie the game that late, you can do whatever you want.”

Michael Stefanic came off the bench to drill a game-winning single facing Nick Ramirez in the 10th inning. It was the Yanks' sixth walk-off loss of the season and their second in as many games, after they blew two late leads in 11 innings at Colorado on Sunday afternoon.

The defeat was New York’s 20th in 35 games since Judge was lost to injury and dropped the Yankees (50-45) into sole possession of last place in the American League East, the first time they have occupied that spot this late in a season since Oct. 3, 1990. 

“We’re the New York Yankees. We have to go out there and win almost every single game,” said , who pitched six innings of one-run ball. “This is a really tough division, and they’re playing good baseball. We just need to play better.”

Ohtani’s game-tying blast came after Severino limited the Halos to Matt Thaiss’ sixth-inning solo homer.

Severino said that he looked to use the All-Star break as an opportunity to reset, wiping clean his mental slate after pitching to a 7.38 ERA through his first nine starts of the season. He worked out twice at Yankee Stadium with pitching coach Matt Blake.

“I needed it a lot,” Severino said. “It’s not about the runs or homers; it’s just about giving my team some innings. Getting out there to the fifth or sixth made me really happy.”

The Yankees had elected to pitch around Ohtani in a stressful fifth inning, concluding with Severino pinning the bases loaded after a leadoff walk and a ground-rule double.

But Boone said he did not consider intentionally walking Ohtani in the seventh, when King had two outs, a runner at first base after a walk to Eduardo Escobar, and Mickey Moniak in the on-deck circle.

“Not in that spot,” Boone said. “I did it in about as unique a spot, first and third in a tie game. When we have a two-run lead, the guy behind him [Moniak] is hitting [.324], too. So I wasn’t going to put another runner out at second and the go-ahead run at the plate. Had [Escobar] gotten to second and we were behind in the count, different story.”

The Yanks made a sharp defensive play to cut down Zach Neto attempting to score on an Ohtani double in the third inning but had trouble figuring Angels starter Griffin Canning, who struck out a career-high 12 over 5 2/3 innings.

“He was dotting it on the corners, probably throwing as hard as he has at any point this year,” Boone said.

A fatigued Canning departed after 120 pitches, yielding to Jimmy Herget, who promptly gave up a two-run, ground-rule double to Oswaldo Cabrera.

Gleyber Torres lifted a sacrifice fly in the seventh to score leadoff hitter Oswald Peraza, who reached base in five trips, but the Yanks were turned aside in the ninth and 10th innings.

“It’s exciting to see the lineup when you come in and you’re hitting leadoff,” Peraza said through an interpreter. “I tried to do the best I can there. Tonight, we did not get the results we wanted.”