Behind Luis Severino‘s big arm, the Yankees took tonight’s game 3-1 and the series against the Rays. Good to head to Flushing on a positive note, right? It was also good to see Severino have a solid outing after a rough one versus the Blue Jays. The lineup managed to score two off of Chris Archer and Greg Bird added an insurance monster home run for three total runs, which were good enough for tonight.
First two runs
Yankees struck first in the second. Carlos Beltran walked to lead off the inning and Bird hit a hard slider deep into the gap to drive in the first run. Bird advanced to third on a Chase Headley groundout but failed to score thanks to Didi Gregorius‘ ground out to first and Dustin Ackley‘s line out.
The Yankees added another run in the sixth. With two outs and Brian McCann on first, Greg Bird walked on four pitches to put a runner on scoring position. Chase Headley followed it up with a soft single to left to drive McCann in. 2-0 Yankees. Nice to see the offense take advantage of opportunities like this especially when your young ace is dealing.
Luis Severino, a 21-year old thrown into the big leagues in the middle of a heated pennant race, had a nice bounceback outing tonight – 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB and 7 strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 3.12 in 43.1 IP, which is pretty awesome for a 21-year old in ML. Dare I say … he is like how I envisioned Phil Hughes would be back in 2007 when the righty was called up to the big leagues.
Unlike the previous start, when his command seemed to be a liability, Severino managed to avoid big hits (mostly) and strike hitters out. In the sixth inning, however, with one out and runner on first, Severino allowed a big fly ball to Steven Souza that hit the roof of the Tropicana Field, allowing the first and only run of the match. After striking out Nick Franklin for the second out of the inning, Joe Girardi took Severino out. That frame might not have gone as everyone had wanted, but the outing pleased a lot of people, that’s for sure.
Justin Wilson, who relieved Severino in the sixth, struck out Kevin Kiermaier to get out of the frame scoreless.
Dellin Betances vs. Command
The Yankees ran into a bit of a scare in the bottom of seventh. After Justin Wilson got two quick outs, Girardi brought in Betances to get the last out of the frame. We’ve all seen this, right? Tonight, the process went quite more stressful than how it usually has.
After getting ahead 0-2, Betances totally lost the strike zone to walk the pinch-hitting Grady Sizemore. And then he went on to walk the next two batters – Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe – to load the bases. Betances has run into some kind of rut with command lately.
Thankfully, he struck out James Loney in three pitches. Loney was Rays’ best hitter by far against Severino, going 3-for-3 against the 21-year old. But he didn’t stand a chance against Betances – a 82 mph curve for called strike, 98 mph fastball for called strike and whiffed on a 86 mph curve for a big, fat K.
Betances had a much more stress-free eighth. He allowed a leadoff single to Souza Jr. on the first pitch. Two pitches later, however, Franklin’s bunt lined softly to Headley’s glove and he doubled off Souza Jr. for a double play. Another two later, Kiermaier grounded out to end the inning – a five pitch eighth!
In the top ninth, with Andrew Bellatti pitching, Bird hit a 84 mph changeup way out of the park to extend the lead to 3-1. I have no idea how far that home run went but it was just absolutely crushed – it hit the back wall above the Tropicana sign above the right field seats. He’s no Mark Teixeira but after tonight’s game, he’s hit for a nice 127 wRC+ in 115 plate appearances.
Oh, and in the bottom ninth, Andrew Miller threw a clean 1-2-3 frame to close out the game. He’s just absolutely filthy – 14.56 K/9 with a 2.62 BB/9, those two say it all .
Box score, standings, highlights and WPA
The Yankees have a day-off tomorrow and will face the Mets for a three-game series this weekend. That will be exciting, don’t you think?