Luis Severino meltdown, balk overload vs Mets creates phantom IL stint questions

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Keep in mind, this is Luis Severino's de facto spring training after he missed almost the season's first two months with a strained lat muscle. Also keep in mind, Luis Severino got rocked through the entirety of his real spring training.

At some point, if he intends to make a real case for the Yankees keeping him, he's going to need to assemble another start that doesn't look like a man figuring out, in real time, what the shape and feel of a baseball are like on planet earth. "Hmm. So that's how much it weighs. Interesting! And -- and I throw it now? To the guy? Fascinating!"

It's impossible for Severino to look worse than he did at Dodger Stadium a week and a half ago, when he opened the Yankees' showcase series against the Dodgers with a six-run first. Tuesday's opening frame against the Mets at least finishes a close second. The stuff was equally poor and similarly located middle-middle. If Max Muncy and Mookie Betts had been at the plate, a few more Mets might've followed the lead of Brandon Nimmo's leadoff smash, which immediately undid Giancarlo Stanton's first inning tone-setting bomb.

We're talking immediately.

Yankees free agent Luis Severino should probably bid farewell to Yanks

The remainder of Severino's first inning featured a dazzling array of non-tempting breaking balls, misplaced 87 MPH changes, and fastballs that ranged from 95 (injury scare!) to 98 (where did that come from?!).

Could Severino be tipping? Could he have forgotten his mechanics entirely between a very strong start against the Padres and the worst start of his career against the Dodgers, where problems presented themselves (and have persisted)? Or could he be battling discomfort, the most logical option for compromised stuff and location? His fastball without the hop isn't all that fast, in today's game. It's also juicy when it's center cut.

Without Nestor Cortes out of the rotation and with Carlos Rodón still weeks away, it'd be a very inopportune time for a Severino IL stint. It also, probably, wouldn't sit well with Severino, who's had plenty of disagreements with the Yankees over his injury timelines over the past few years. But ... you know what else is inopportune? Severino, with no feel for the game, diminished stuff, and the command of a local baker tossing cookie dough, taking the mound every five days.

Did we mention he balked twice in the second inning? Because he balked twice in the second inning.

Once, he balked because the pitch clock was winding down and, out of ideas, he hucked the ball to home plate. What a shocker that the man who once forgot the start time of a playoff game (he did, don't deny it) is having newfangled clock issues.

Once, he balked because he just ... turned around and whipped the baseball to first. No preparation. No foresight. Just ... threw it over there.

In the third, Gleyber Torres knocked a double play ball off every part of his body, setting up additional Mets runs. Then, he exhaled, thanking God that because of Severino's performance, it would only be the 19th-most embarrassing moment of the game. Severino's future is up for grabs. His present shouldn't be tolerated. Whatever preparation preceded this, it didn't work. He isn't ready. He's nonfunctional. He's noncompetitive. It's time to seek Randy Vásquez-themed alternatives and give up this fight.