Most pitchers would be thrilled with an outing like Luis Severino had Sunday, when he held the A’s to one run over six innings in a 6-2 victory at Yankee Stadium.
Severino, though, hasn’t been especially pleased with either of his past two performances, citing a lack of command of his fastball and a slider that has lacked its usual sharpness.
“I’ll have to work on my slider more in the bullpen to find out what’s going on,’’ Severino said. “Maybe it’s my release point. I will figure it out.”
Even without his complete arsenal, Severino has been able to produce excellent returns.
The right-hander has started nine times this season and the Yankees have won eight of those games.
Before the game, Aaron Boone noted how well Severino was able to “self-correct” during starts.
That was the case against Oakland, when Severino gave up a hard grounder to third to Marcus Semien to start the game and then walked Matt Joyce after getting ahead 0-2.
Severino then struck out the next two batters to end the first and also whiffed the first two batters in the second as part of three no-hit innings to start the game.
Severino also received some help from his defense.
Miguel Andujar made a nice play on Semien’s grounder to start the game and Tyler Austin’s diving catch of a Joyce liner to his right at first ended the third.
Andujar caught a bullet by Mark Canha with two runners on to finish the fourth.
Severino gave up his only run in the fifth, when the A’s got three singles — including Jed Lowrie’s hit to right that made it 3-1.
The next batter, Davis, put a scare into Severino and the Yankees when he drilled a 98 mph fastball to deep center, but Aaron Hicks was able to make the catch to end the threat.
Severino ended up giving up just one run on five hits, while striking out seven and walking a pair in a six-inning outing.
“It’s just a tribute to the kind of pitcher he is,’’ Boone said. “The A’s really made him work and fouled off a ton of pitches against him. He never had just an easy inning we’re used to seeing when he’s really cruising.
You love to see that out of your ace.”
Since Severino’s one slip-up in Boston on April 10, when he battled miserable conditions and allowed five runs in five innings, he has surrendered one run or less in four starts.
In six starts since that game, Severino is 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA. He’s struck out 50 and walked only seven in that stretch.
“It’s satisfying because of the win,” Severino said. “I want to compete when I don’t have my best stuff.”
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