Despite loss, Severino makes strong first impression

There was an extra buzz at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night. Yes, the Red Sox were the opponents, which usually gets the fans excited. What was of additional interest was a glance into the future.

Luis Severino, the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, made his major-league debut and a major impression as well. The righthander, who was 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was on a 100-pitch count and threw 94 over five innings, many of them quality.

As it turns out, Severino may be as much part of the present as the future. The Yankees have a hole in their rotation with Michael Pineda on the disabled list and not expected back before the end of August. Severino displayed equal measure of power and poise in his first appearance on a big-league mound and may prove as valuable as any of those pitchers on the recent trade market that the Yankees bypassed rather than sacrifice talent within the farm system.

“He’s got poise,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I didn’t think the surroundings would affect him a whole lot. It was definitely a positive for him and what he can mean to us.”

“I felt it was the same as Double A or Triple A, just baseball,” Severino said through a translator, but admitted, “When I went out of the bullpen to the dugout, I felt happy to be here.”

Severino gave up two runs but only one was earned. Was it ever? David Ortiz launched a home run halfway up the right-center field bleachers, which is hardly a capital crime considered the damage Big Papi has done to Yankees pitching over the years, leading off the fourth inning.

“When you miss a pitch, you pay for it here,” Severino said.

The run Severino gave up in the second was more the fault of third baseman Chase Headley, whose wild throw past Mark Teixeira at first base allowed Mike Napoli to reach second base with two out. Severino should have been out of the inning but was tagged for a double by Alejandro De Aza that scored Napoli.

Other than that, it was mostly Severino playing catch with John Ryan Murphy behind the plate subbing for Brian McCann, who will be sidelined several days due to inflammation in his left knee. Severino did not allow another hit, walked no one and struck out seven in a very positive outing.

Unfortunately, the Yankees could not avoid Severino being stuck with the losing decision because their hitters had trouble solving Steven Wright, except for Carlos Beltran, whose ninth home run accounted for their only score in the 2-1 loss. One night after scoring 13 runs, the Yankees scratched out five hits, one of which came in the ninth against closer Koji Uehara, who hung on for his 24th save.

The loss coupled with Toronto’s 9-7 victory over Minnesota reduced the Yankees’ lead over the Blue Jays in the American League East to 4 1/2 games. Despite the loss, there was much for the Yankees to be satisfied about in watching a fresh, young arm display so much promise.

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