It’s becoming increasingly clear that when Luis Severino is good, there’s almost no one better in the majors.
After another standout performance in Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Blue Jays in The Bronx, the right-hander has allowed either zero or one run in 19 starts since the beginning of last season — the most in baseball.
On Sunday, he gave up just a solo homer to Teoscar Hernandez in the sixth inning of a seven-inning outing in which Severino allowed just three hits and two walks, while striking out six.
“He struggled a couple of innings where he lost his command a little bit, but that’s what an ace looks like,’’ Aaron Boone said. “When he’s not perfect, to still be able to go out there, drive through seven for us.”
And much like Jordan Montgomery on Saturday, Severino was able to get out of more than one tricky situation.
After Severino retired the first six batters he faced, he gave up a single to Kevin Pillar and walked Devon Travis before getting the next three batters. An inning later, he pitched around a leadoff double by Justin Smoak without a run scoring.
Severino (4-1, 2.32 ERA) was pleased with how he was able to attack the strike zone, especially with his fastball.
“This year, that’s gonna be my goal,’’ Severino said. “To try to control game.’’
He’s off to a promising start.
On Opening Day in Toronto, he limited the Blue Jays to one hit in 5 ²/₃ shutout innings. Severino then tossed 7 ¹/₃ impressive innings against the Rays, when he gave up just two runs.
His only misstep of the season so far came in Boston when, pitching in tough conditions, Severino allowed five runs in five innings, but he bounced back to toss six scoreless, one-hit innings versus the Marlins before shutting down the Blue Jays again Sunday.
Boone decided to let Severino pitch the seventh even after he was touched up for a homer and a walk in the sixth. Severino rewarded Boone’s faith by tossing a scoreless inning.
“We had [Chad] Green up in the seventh if he got in any real trouble,’’ Boone said. “He hit Pillar there when he tried to finish off the day a little too much. But he got through the inning. It was just what the doctor ordered.”
Severino liked the extra work. The 112 pitches were the most he’d thrown in a game since he needed 113 to get through seven innings of Game 4 of last year’s ALDS against Cleveland.
“That was big for me,” said Severino, who has limited batters to a .168 average this year. “I felt good at the end.”
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