As is customary, the Yankees sent Luis Severino ahead to Detroit on Thursday afternoon for Friday’s 1 p.m. start against the Tigers. Joe Girardi wasn’t sure what time the Yankees would get to Motown for the Tigers’ home opener.
The game is a big one for the Yankees, too, because it’s the first start of the season for the prized 22-year-old. Severino, who went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts as a rookie last season, might be the Yankee best positioned to burst onto the scene as a true ace. During spring training, Girardi compared his composure to that of Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. So no pressure.
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Not that Severino seems to feel pressure. He was outstanding down the stretch as the Yankees fought for a wild-card spot. Girardi said it was a terrific learning experience for the righthander.
“I think he has a better understanding of what it takes to be successful,” he said. “What it’s like to face a team two or three times. That he has the ability to do it at this level. And I think that’s the question that all players have. A player can have a ton of confidence, but if you get hit hard early on, or you give up some runs one day, you start to say, ‘OK, can I do this?’
“I’ve never seen him waver in his confidence. He has had some bounce-back starts, which I think is really important, and I think he understands that he definitely has the ability to pitch at this level.”
Severino, who will go up against righthander Jordan Zimmermann, never has faced the Tigers. CC Sabathia draws former Met Mike Pelfrey on Saturday and Masahiro Tanaka will oppose Justin Verlander on Sunday night.
Mark Teixeira passed Tino Martinez for 17th on the franchise homer list with his 193rd as a Yankee . . . Alex Rodriguez passed Jorge Posada for 11th on the franchise RBIs list with his 1,066th as a Yankee . . . The Yankees struck out 24 Astros and walked one in the series’ last two games.