ARLINGTON, Texas — Luis Severino arrived in the big leagues late last season with off-the-charts hype. Because he was mature beyond his years and had an electric arm, the Yankees felt he would hold up to the heat of a pennant race.
He went out and honored those proclamations, and in his 11 starts he demonstrated the kind of stuff that had them dreaming of a soon-to-be ace. But the 22-year-old’s first three starts this season were erratic at best, and his fourth was nothing short of a train wreck.
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Throwing fastballs almost exclusively to one of the AL’s best fastball-hitting teams, Severino (0-3, 6.86 ERA) lasted only three innings in a 10-1 loss to the Rangers Tuesday night at Globe Life Park. Before the game, Joe Girardi said, “Hopefully, tonight’s his night.” It was anything but as Severino allowed six runs and seven hits.
“I thought he was up with his fastball,’’ Girardi said, “and he had a hard time throwing his off-speed stuff for strikes. So it kind of put him in a tough situation, and they definitely took advantage of it.”
The righthander has allowed 32 hits in 19 2⁄3 innings.
“I have a lot of confidence in myself, I’m just having a tough time,’’ Severino said. “Every pitcher in the big leagues has tough times.”
When asked about not throwing as many secondary pitches, he said: “If I try to throw it one time and it’s not working, I don’t want to throw it anymore. But it’s not confidence. It’s just if it’s not working, I don’t want to throw it.”
A.J. Griffin (3-0), with a high-80s fastball and a soft looping curve, held the Yankees (8-11) to a run in eight innings. It was the longest start by any Rangers starter this season. The Yankees had six hits, two in the ninth against Tony Barnette.
Though Severino’s outing clearly was the story of the night, the Yankees’ offense continues to flounder, having scored four or more runs in a game only twice since April 9.
“We should have put better swings on [Griffin’s] mistakes,’’ Mark Teixeira said, “but he didn’t have many.”
The Rangers (11-10) had 13 hits, getting three from Elvis Andrus and two apiece from Nomar Mazara, Ian Desmond, who homered, and Mitch Moreland. Ivan Nova allowed three runs and five hits in four innings. Rougned Odor homered off Chasen Shreve in the eighth to make it 10-1.
The teams played at a remarkably fast pace, finishing in 2 hours, 19 minutes, as a horrendous forecast predicted heavy rain, winds, hail and maybe even frogs and locusts by 9:30 p.m. local time.
Rain began dousing the stadium as the teams took the field for the bottom of the third. Coincidentally, that’s when things came apart for Severino, who to that point had allowed one run. The rain mostly subsided within the hour.
Severino retired the first two batters in the third, but like many Yankees starters this season, couldn’t finish off the inning.
Mazara singled to center and Adrian Beltre slammed a 2-and-2 slider to right for a double. The Yankees intentionally walked Prince Fielder before Severino walked Desmond to force in a run. Moreland smacked a fastball to center for a two-run single to make it 4-0. With Andrus at the plate, Severino threw a wild pitch in the dirt, bringing in Desmond to make it 5-0. Andrus’ single to left made it 6-0.
“I’m sure it’s tough right now,’’ Girardi said, “because he’s probably never struggled to this level. But that’s part of it, too. You’ve got to fight in this game. This game is not easy. If it was easy, anyone would do it. Everybody gets knocked down and you have to get back up and you’ve got to go to work.”