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Yankees righthander Luis Severino struggles against Rangers after two good starts

Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) throws during

Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Arlington, Texas. Credit: AP/Brandon Wade

ARLINGTON, Texas — After missing the first 151 games because of injury, Luis Severino looked surprisingly sharp in his first two starts.

That was not the case Saturday night against the Rangers in his final tune-up for October, though he did recover from a 33-pitch first inning in which he walked three batters and allowed the first runs of his severely truncated season.

The Yankees lost, 9-4, but nothing occurred in Severino’s three-inning outing that was disqualifying in terms of his being a legitimate postseason option.

“No question,” Aaron Boone said. “I’m pleased with where he’s at [physically]. I think this was  a little bit of a tune-up. I think he’ll be a guy when we hand him the ball in the postseason we’re going to feel like we have a really good shot.”

Severino, who threw 72 pitches, allowed two runs, one hit and four walks. He was on a pitch count in the range of 80 to 90 but was done in by a first inning in which he struggled to command all three of his pitches. The highlight of his night was a 15-pitch second in which he struck out the side.

“In the second and third, I felt more like myself,” Severino said. “[In the first] it was everything. I didn’t feel like myself with my pitches. Fastball was all over the place, slider, the changeup, it was everything. In the second inning, I felt like I could control everything.”

In his first two starts, he allowed no runs, five hits and two walks in nine innings, striking out 13.

“All in all, enough of a buildup as we head into the playoffs,” Boone said. “Obviously not as sharp as he was in his last two, but I thought a nice rebound from a first inning where he struggled a little bit.”

Rougned Odor hit a grand slam off Nestor Cortes Jr. in the Rangers’ six-run sixth inning. He also had a two-out, two-run double off Severino in the first. Didi Gregorius had a three-run double with two outs in the ninth for the Yankees, who had scored in the first on Aaron Judge’s triple and Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly.

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