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HomeSportMLBSeverino earns standing ovation with stellar start 

Severino earns standing ovation with stellar start 

Severino earns standing ovation with stellar start

_This story was excerpted from Bryan Hoch’s Yankees Beat newsletter. Betelhem Ashame contributed to today’s edition. To read the full newsletter,” target=”blank”>click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

As Luis Severino walked off the mound on Wednesday night, having handed the ball to manager Aaron Boone with one out to go in the seventh inning, an unfamiliar sound reverberated around Yankee Stadium.

A crowd of 37,266 rose to its feet and cheered, offering the beleaguered starter a standing ovation for his part in the Yankees’ eventual 9-1 win over the Nationals, which snapped their nine-game losing streak, the club’s longest since September 1982. Severino tipped his cap as he neared the dugout, acknowledging the gesture with gratitude.

Though the headlines belonged to Aaron Judge after his first career three-homer game, Severino’s outing could prove to be significant in the weeks to come. The right-hander allowed only one hit across 6 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his third victory of the season, and first since July 23 against the Royals, the second-worst team in the American League.

For a player who has faced jeers perhaps more than any other Yankee amid what manager Brian Cashman called a “disaster” of a season earlier that evening, the ovation was a nice reminder of how things used to be for the two-time All-Star.

“Like I’ve said before, I know the stuff I have and I know the pitcher I can be,” Severino said. “I just need to continue to do little adjustments, trusting my stuff again, having confidence in myself, and I know good things are going to happen.

“I’ve heard a lot of boos, so it’s a good thing to have those fans cheering for me.”

The moment wasn’t lost on the rest of the Yankees. Judge, who was in the dugout as the designated hitter on the night, had a front-row seat to Severino’s satisfied stride off the hill.

“Oh, it was great,” said the Yankees’ captain. “He was kind of chuckling about it coming off the field, said it’s been a while. He was just happy he was able to put out a good performance there for the fans and do his thing.”

Severino struck out two batters and walked a pair in his 97-pitch start, not allowing a run for just the second time this season (June 24 vs. the Rangers) and pitching into the seventh for the second time (May 27 vs. the Padres).

As for what allowed Severino to have that success, the Yankees pointed toward his fastball command, which first seemed to improve in his last outing against the Braves on Aug. 15.

“I think he’s starting to do a better job of just mixing and matching, locating, being unpredictable, not relying on one pitch, just using his whole arsenal,” said catcher Kyle Higashioka.

Severino didn’t give up a hit Wednesday until Keibert Ruiz managed a two-out, line-drive single to right field in the fourth. The righty didn’t let him go any farther, though, getting Dominic Smith to pop out to shortstop Anthony Volpe to end the frame.

Part of a starting rotation that has been beset by injuries, Severino didn’t make his 2023 debut until May 21 after suffering a right lat strain in Spring Training. Carlos Rodón returned from the injured list in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss, but with Nestor Cortes likely out for the season, the Yankees could certainly use some consistency from Severino down the stretch.

“This has been a tough year, but he’s never [stopped] fighting and kept working,” Boone said. “So it’s nice, when you’ve been taking it on the chin and you’ve been facing some adversity, to get a moment to be appreciated. It’s not easy. And hopefully now, after an outing like this, he can start to build and start to put some of these together and finish the season strong.”



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