According to any observer, subjective or otherwise, “Agreed.”
But over the course of a 162-game MLB season, sometimes hitting the gas instead of the brakes is unwise. That goes triple at the tail end of said season, where the games are made up and the runs don’t matter, the Yankees already having clinched their AL East title and seeding long before setting down in the Lone Star State.
On Monday night in Arlington, Severino might’ve been as crisp as he’s ever been, touching 99 and 100 with ease while dotting the corners of the zone. Unfortunately for the oft-injured right-hander, it was only his third start off a trip to the 60-Day IL (a move that was controversial in and of itself; Sevy didn’t think he needed that long).
Start No. 1 lasted 64 low-stress pitches against the Pirates. Start No. 2? 76 pitches in four frames against the Blue Jays.
Severino finished seven innings in 94 pitches on Monday, and even that was a few more than Aaron Boone had wanted him to throw. Aiming for a laborious 120 or more, in a best-case scenario? It just wasn’t in the cards this time, as free and easy as it all looked.
Yankees’ Aaron Boone made right decision removing Luis Severino from no-hitter
Severino’s injury history is long and difficult to look at. Without rehashing the whole, horrible tale, the Yankees’ erstwhile ace missed most of 2019 with shoulder issues and a lat strain, then saw 2020 wiped off the map (before it was cool!) with a UCL tear that required Tommy John surgery. His rehab stopped and started multiple times in 2021, once because his groin appeared to tear (it didn’t) and once because he just could not get his shoulder engaged in the act of throwing a baseball.
As effortlessly as Severino’s stuff appeared to translate from his brain to his arm to the catcher’s mitt Monday night, we have enough evidence to know the process can actually turn very laborious very quickly.
A no-hitter would’ve been exciting. And yes, it’s true that Severino’s lengthy injury history means that even pulling him at 94 pitches is no guarantee of health moving forward.
But the Yankees must do everything they can to keep him upright and functional for his upcoming ALDS slot — and removing him from a borderline exhibition game wasn’t even that high on the “difficult” scale. Boone had to deliver the tough pill to swallow directly to Severino’s face after seven innings (yes, had to), even though the right-hander had no intention of listening.
26 years ago, in a slightly more dire situation, Joe Torre pulled David Cone after seven no-hit innings in his first start back from surgery on an aneurysm. Doctors feared Cone would never pitch again; Cone won four more World Series. It was a difficult decision for Torre, but universally regarded as the right one, both in the moment and decades in the rear view.
Severino had no argument Monday night, as difficult as that probably was for him to conceive of. That’s why he could barely look at Boone during their slightly uncomfortable conversation.
The Yankees pocketed their 98th victory. Severino sent a message to the league while saving some bullets. And on a night when fans came for history, they saw a former ace reemerge and start writing potentially the most interesting chapter yet of his career. Despite their awkward talk, Boone and Sevy gave the fans plenty more to talk about.