Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Sure, it was great the Yankees banked another victory Sunday afternoon with an 8-3 decision over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. But the day's most important development was the way Luis Severino pitched.
Severino making his second start since coming off the Injured List, was masterful while being backed by home runs from Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and D.J. LeMahieu as the Yanks cruised in their final home game of the regular season.
Here are six takeaways from Sunday:
1. If this is the version of Severino the Yankees will get in the playoffs, it is a major boost. He threw five dominant shutout innings and allowed only three hits. He struck out nine while not walking a single batter, though he did hit one on an 0-2 pitch.
He threw 80 pitches (54 strikes), which is 13 more than he tossed in his first outing back, so he's ramping up his workload in preparation for October. Sunday, he kept his velocity throughout his outing, averaging 96.5 miles per hour with his fastball, and his slider appeared sharp, too. His final pitch was clocked at 98 mph.
In two starts back, Severino has thrown at total of nine scoreless innings.
2. The Yankees started the day with one more home run than the Twins (295-294) in the race to finish with the all-time single-season record. They set about padding their lead quickly when Judge, their second batter, hit a solo shot for a 1-0 lead.
Judge, who has now homered 14 times in his last 29 games, smacked a breaking ball from ex-Met Wilmer Font into the loading dock in center field, a blast measured at 420 feet. It was his 26th home run of the season. With 14 since August 20, he's tied with Eugenio Suarez of the Reds for the most in that span.
3. Gardner has been a nice source of Yankee power this season and he was at it again Sunday, launching a three-run homer that landed in the second deck in right field in the first inning. It was his 27thof the season, continuing his career high. He has nine home runs this month, matching his previous career high for a single month, set in May of 2017.
4. LeMahieu homered to right in the second inning, a two-run shot to right off Trent Thornton that boosted the lead to 6-0. LeMahieu, who has reached base in 119 of 140 games, has 26 home runs and 99 RBI and is still in contention for the AL batting title. He's never had a 100-RBI season.
5. For all the handwringing over the October outlook for the Yankees rotation, the starters have delivered lately. Severino's outing means that Yankee starters have a 2.53 ERA in the last 24 games dating back to August 27. The rotation has given up more than two earned runs just three times over that span.
6. The next time the Yankees play at the Stadium, it'll be in the American League Division Series. Postseason home-field advantage has been a talking point for weeks now because of how well the Yanks have played in the Bronx and how they lost all four games in Houston in the 2017 ALCS. This year, the Yanks were 57-24 at home and have not lost a series at the Stadium since April 12-14. Since then, they have won 20 series and split three at home.
Overall, the Yankees improved to 102-55 and moved to 47 games over .500 for the first time since the 1998 season.