If Luis Severino is not going to have his top fastball velocity, he will need to have his top command in order to be effective.
The Yankees right-hander will get another chance to do that Tuesday to kick off the Subway Series against the Mets and Max Scherzer at Citi Field.
As sharp as Severino looked in his first two starts after coming off the injured list for a strained lat, his last two starts have been just as rough, coinciding with a drop in fastball velocity.
After giving up just two earned runs in 11 ¹/₃ innings across his first two starts against the Reds and Padres, Severino got tagged for 11 earned runs — including six home runs — in nine innings against the Dodgers and White Sox.
Severino’s fastball averaged 97.3 mph in his first two starts, but then averaged 95.0 mph (with a max of 96.6 mph) and 95.6 mph (with a max of 97.4 mph) in his two starts since.
“If he’s not throwing 98-99, obviously he’s gotta have a little bit more command at 94-95,” pitching coach Matt Blake said Sunday. “But he’s plenty capable of getting a lot of outs at 94-95. Somewhere in between there is probably where we need to be.”
After giving up three home runs for a second straight outing Thursday against the White Sox, Severino called his performance “unacceptable.”
Blake said he hoped Severino’s velocity would stabilize as he found a rhythm while building his volume of pitches with each start. But Severino also needs to be more precise with it.
“Obviously, the fastball command’s a good starting point,” Blake said. “He’s gotta be better with the fastball and keep it in areas that are productive for him. Then probably landing the slider a little bit more for strikes. … But just continuing to sharpen his command and get him in rhythm here as he keeps getting more outings under his belt.”
Billy McKinney has made a quick impact since being called up from Triple-A on Wednesday for the injured Aaron Judge. In five games, the outfielder was batting .294 with a 1.000 OPS in addition to some quality defense, including a leaping catch at the left-field wall in the 10th inning of Sunday’s loss to the Red Sox.
“It means the world,” McKinney said. “I’m just glad the Yankees are giving me an opportunity. Hopefully, I can help the team win any way, any how.”
MLB released the first round of fan voting for the All-Star Game on Monday. Judge led all American League outfielders with 844,965 votes, which trailed only DH Shohei Ohtani (924,182) overall in the AL. Anthony Rizzo ranked third among AL first basemen and Gleyber Torres ranked fourth for AL second basemen.
Two off days are built in on either side of the Subway Series, but it’s possible the Yankees and Mets might need to use the one on the back end.
While Tuesday’s forecast calls for a sunny day in Queens, Wednesday is a little dicier. As of Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service was forecasting a 70 percent chance of showers on Wednesday at Citi Field, with showers and thunderstorms “likely before 11 p.m.”
If the game on Wednesday needs to be postponed, it could be made up on Thursday. The Mets are currently set to be off before hosting the Cardinals on Friday, while the Yankees are scheduled to be traveling to Boston to play the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday.
Read the full article here