TORONTO - Luis Severino believes he'll handle the sellout crowd at Rogers Centre just fine Sunday.

The Blue Jays' powerful lineup is another matter, of course, but the rookie righthander didn't appear to be shaking over that, either.

"Forty-five thousand in the stadium will give me more energy,'' said the 21-year-old, who will make his third career start as the Yankees attempt to sweep this three-game series. "I don't think that's going to affect me at all. I like to pitch that way.''

Not that he has experienced that kind of atmosphere often, if at all. But when Severino made his major-league debut against the Red Sox on Aug. 5 in front of a capacity crowd of 47,489 at Yankee Stadium, he did well enough, allowing one earned run and two hits in five innings. On Tuesday in Cleveland, he allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings.

"So far he's handled everything,'' Joe Girardi said. "You think about his first start against Boston, he handled that pretty well at our ballpark. You'd have to have your head in the sand not to understand the rivalry if you come up in one of those systems. So he's handled everything so far so good.''

Severino, who has struck out nine and walked one in 11 innings, said he's fully aware of the importance of Sunday's game, but that won't be his focus.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"I'm just going to pay attention to the catcher and his signs,'' he said through a translator. "I understand the situation right now, we're fighting for first place, but my concentration's going to be in the glove.''

The Blue Jays haven't done much offensively in this series -- four runs in two games -- but they still entered Saturday leading the majors in runs (618), slugging percentage (.443) and OPS (.773) and were second in homers (157).

"I'm going to try and make my pitches,'' Severino said. "They have a good lineup, but I'm just going to try and make my pitches and do my best.''

Severino has said several times that he doesn't feel any different on the mound here than in the minors -- where he was 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 19 starts between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre -- but he did allow for one major difference.

"It's more disciplined here,'' he said. "If you miss the pitch, you're going to pay for it.''