The Yankees have a serious problem, and his name is Luis Severino.
The starter stumbled, then again on Thursday as the No. 2 Orioles beat the No. 3 Yankees 14-1 in the Bronx. The Yankees had a chance to win their four-game series against their division rivals after winning the first two games, but a loss on Wednesday and Severino’s continued struggles led to a split.
“Nobody likes getting beaten over the head,” Aaron Boone said afterwards, “but that’s part of it, too.”
Severino put himself and his team in an immediate hole, as Gunnar Henderson started with a home run. The Yankees right-hander didn’t allow any more runs in the first or second innings, but a Baltimore bombardment knocked Severino out before he could complete the third period.
While a three-hit call and a few defensive incidents — particularly from Isiah Kiner-Falefa in left field — worked against Severino, there was no excuse for the pitcher’s performance. Severino totaled just eight outs while allowing seven earned runs and 11 hard-hit walks. He walked just one and struck out three on 77 pitches.
“Sometimes things don’t go your way,” Severino said. “I’m not doing my job right now.
Albert Abreu, the first man out of the bullpen, was charged with six extra points.
Thursday’s clunker was hardly an anomaly, as Severino has now allowed 33 earned runs and 53 hits in his last seven starts, a span that includes 31.1 innings. For his season, he allowed 40 runs in nine starts and 42.2 innings.
For reference, the 29-year-old gave up just 36 earned runs in 19 starts and 102 innings last season.
While Severino has had some good starts this season – he pitched six scoreless innings two rounds ago – the majority of his outings have been disappointing at best. Severino now has a 7.38 ERA this year.
“I don’t feel good in any of my throws right now,” Severino said.
Pitching coach Matt Blake called the root of Severino’s woes a “moving target.” Blake noted that Severino’s issues included his fastball control, breaking ball form, execution, count control and maintaining pace. Blake also said the Yankees are monitoring Severino’s delivery.
“The execution of the pitch comes and goes a little bit in different spurts,” Blake continued. “Obviously we have good line-ups here, and that’s going to happen from time to time. It’s a bit excessive for Sevy. Historically, he’s been a good pitcher in the major leagues. He had success here. He knows what it looks like. So that’s the hardest part. He holds himself to a high standard and we hold him to a high standard. Every time it gets away from that, and it snowballs on him, it becomes a bigger thing, and we have to keep trying to minimize it and get back to focusing on things that he can control, and that’s his execution and his pitch forms and his delivery.
Severino, off the cuff, mentioned the possibility of tipping multiple times when discussing his issues, though he didn’t definitively conclude that was the answer. Blake said the Yankees regularly watch their pitchers for that, and he didn’t think tips were Severino’s problem Thursday.
While Severino said he was physically fine, Blake said the pitcher’s long history of injuries forced him to adjust his delivery over time. Blake went on to say that Severino was “trying to revisit what he looked like” when he was at his best in 2017 and 2018, as well as parts of last season.
Severino hinted at the idea, as he said he watched old videos of himself as he tried to correct his course. He also spoke to Yankees receivers and staff.
“The execution isn’t there, and we have to dig on everything to get it locked up everywhere from delivery, deception, all those things,” Boone said. “So we’re going to keep digging into it and trying to get it to where we know it can go.”
There’s also the matter of Severino’s state of mind, which Blake called a “big piece”.
“He’s as strong as anyone to handle this, and that’s important,” Blake said. “He’s been through a lot and he’s obviously navigated through different circumstances. It’s obviously one of the toughest of his career just in terms of lack of success while he’s on the pitch. Typically, it’s the injury bug that catches it.
While Boone said Severino’s confidence had “probably” been shaken “a bit,” the pitcher said that wasn’t the case.
“It doesn’t affect my confidence,” Severino said. “I know the kind of pitcher I am. I just haven’t been myself. I’ve never been such a bad thrower in my entire life, so it’s just a little hard to figure out. »
The Orioles scored seven runs in the third inning before adding five more in the fourth. They pushed another through the plate in the eighth, which went to Wandy Peralta.
Things got so out of hand that utility Kiner-Falefa had to pitch for the fourth time this season.
Henderson added a second homer — a three-run shot — against Abreu in the fourth inning and paced his team with five RBIs and four hits. Ryan O’Hearn was not far behind, driving in four while collecting three hits.
Adam Frazier also recorded three hits as the Orioles recorded 20 hits.
Although Severino never gave the Yankees a chance, their offense didn’t exactly hit back. The Bombers had six hits on the night while Kyle Bradish recorded six scoreless innings for Baltimore.
The Yankees’ only run came with two outs in the ninth when Billy McKinney hit a hard ground ball. First baseman Ramón Urías has been charged with an error on the play.
Thursday’s loss was the latest in a string of ugly losses for the Yankees, but the team and its fans will wake up to something to be excited about Friday.
Carlos Rodón will make his long-awaited debut for the Yankees after a sprained forearm and a nagging back delayed the start of his season. The left-handed starter, the team’s biggest off-season addition, signed a six-year, $162 million contract with the Yankees in December after two straight All-Star seasons with the White Sox and Giants.
“I’m excited to get him back into action tomorrow,” Aaron Boone said ahead of Thursday’s game. “I know he is, on some level, eager to get out and wants to help.
“But most importantly, I feel like physically he’s in a good position to come out and be Carlos Rodón.”
As Rodón continues to develop at the major league level after three rehab starts, ex-Yankee Jameson Taillon will start Game 1 of the series for the Cubs.
Taillon, who signed a four-year, $68 million contract over the winter, is off to a rocky start in Chicago. The right-hander boasts a 6.93 ERA this season.
With Rodón back and Severino brawling, it’s possible the latter will be forced out of the rotation if things don’t improve down the road.
But Boone dismissed a question about skipping Severino’s upcoming start while noting that the All-Star break is approaching. Severino said he would use some of that time to distract himself from baseball, but would continue to bury himself in his problems.
And as for the possibility of losing his starting job?
“It’s not my choice,” Severino said. “I just need to figure out what’s going on.”