Sevyn shutout innings, huh? Nostalgic Yankees nights certainly get worse than this, folks. They certainly do.
One day before Aaron Judge's ill-fated, toe-first trip into the wall at Dodger Stadium, it seemed like Luis Severino's Yankees career could be over. Given a Friday night start in Los Angeles, Severino was immediately ambushed in his third outing of the season.
His first two outings had approximated his vintage form; in 6.2 one-hit innings against San Diego, he chased 99 and smoked an All-Star team. His third time on the mound? His velocity was way down. He allowed seven earned runs in four innings, including first-inning homers from Mookie Betts, Max Muncy and three additional tallies. The inning only ended with a pickoff. It seemed inevitable that Aaron Boone would announce postgame that Severino had suffered a setback.
Instead, he trudged on, which somehow felt like a worse fate. His fastball was hop-less. His breaking stuff was muted. He struggled through start after start, mired at 95-96, often pounded by superior competition. The Orioles tagged him for 10 hits and seven earned in the Bronx, then 10 hits and nine earned in Birdland. The punchless White Sox homered thrice. The floundering Cardinals put up nine, too, mid-tank. Forget the All-Star version of Severino; even the competent version seemed long gone ahead of his entrance into free agency this winter.
In mid-August, given what appeared to be a death sentence, Severino surrendered "just" three runs to the Braves one start after he'd been "removed" from the rotation in favor of an opener. He looked marginally better, which -- for once -- wasn't a front office spin. It seemed tangibly true, even if his tools still manifested poorly when the curtain rose.
But then, the darndest thing happened. He was able to piece together a somewhat miraculous shutout of the Washington Nationals in that start's wake, leaving the Yankee Stadium mound one last time (?) to a standing ovation. That scoreless streak hit 13.2 innings on Monday evening, when he powered through seven shutout on the road in Detroit, punctuating a crucial strikeout of powerhouse sophomore Spencer Torkelson with a 99 MPH heater and trademark roar.
Luis Severino deserved Sevy Scream in Yankees victory over Tigers
If you received those Severino bobbleheads after his disastrous mid-July start, now would be a good time to display them proudly.
All is not well. Severino's future remains very much up for grabs, and after the righty took a flimsy extension prior to the 2019 season, his singular large upcoming payday will still be significantly muted. Perhaps the Yankees will give him another chance to reset his market value by extending him the qualifying offer; their rotation is hardly fleshed out next season, after all. No amount of celebratory screams can drown out the aggrieved ones when Sevy reckons with the amount of money he's cost himself in his poor walk year.
But four weeks after Severino said he felt like the "worst pitcher in MLB," a depressing sentiment he unleashed variations of for two months between Dodger Stadium and Comerica Park, it was still something to watch him declare himself and hear him roar.