They cheer loudly at Yankee Stadium — so loudly that a lot of players say it’s the noisiest they’ve ever heard. After helping the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game last week, Luis Severino called the sound electric, and thrilling.
But sometimes they boo even louder.
That was the case on Monday night, when Severino watched the Red Sox circle around him like angry vultures in the fourth inning of ALDS Game 3 and heard the Stadium crowd boo in frustration and confusion.
The Severino who was untouchable just a week ago looked positively overmatched in Boston’s 16-1 victory in Game 3. And maybe even more than Severino, the fans booed Aaron Boone. He waited an awfully long time to get someone up in the bullpen, and an awfully long time to bring in Lance Lynn in the fourth.
Afterward, the questions came fast and furious. Why did Severino struggle so significantly? And what about the tidbit that Ron Darling dropped on the TBS telecast? He said Severino didn’t begin warming up until 7:32, just 10 minutes before first pitch, and had to be told the game started at about 7:40, not 8 p.m.
“Who is that guy? So how does he know what time I’m going every time?” Severino said defiantly of Darling, saying that he always takes only 10 minutes to warm up. “He’s from here? He’s always here? ... If my pitching coach said that to you, you can believe it, but he’s not – whatever he said that, he’s not always in the bullpen.”
No, Severino was told, he's not always around. Darling is a former pitcher, and generally on the Mets' broadcast.
“So how does he know? How does he know that?”
Gary Sanchez, while saying that they had a normal routine, did not directly respond when asked if Severino’s routine was shorter than usual. Backup catcher Austin Romine -- who allowed a two-run homer by Brock Holt in the ninth inning -- declined to comment. Boone was clipped in his denial.
“No, he got his normal pitching routine, faced his couple of hitters down there. So no, no issue with that,” he said.
“That’s a little bit blown out of proportion," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "In the playoffs, the routine is always, because of introductions and everything, he does a lot inside and then comes out a little bit later than most starters. But he left the bullpen, he had faced two hitters with signs and done his complete long toss. He did the routine he normally does and actually warmed up pretty well. He didn’t rush to get in or any of that stuff. And I mean the problem occurred in the third inning, not in the first inning.”
Whatever happened before the game, the results weren’t there after first pitch.
Severino, who kept the A’s off balance with his fastball, changeup and a wicked slider, struggled with his command against the Red Sox, giving up hard-hit ball after hard-hit ball.
After surviving two loud outs in the first, including a flyout by Mookie Betts that went 400 feet and came off the bat at 104 mph, he allowed a run in the second on Christian Vazquez’s two-out infield hit. Severino allowed back-to-back singles to lead off the third, with one run scoring on J.D. Martinez’s sacrifice fly and another on Rafael Devers’ forceout.
In the fourth – left in so he could take care of the bottom of the lineup – Severino instead allowed all three baserunners he faced to reach base before being pulled for Lynn. The Red Sox scored seven more runs in the inning, with the first three charged to Severino. In all, six runs were charged to Severino, who allowed seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He threw 70 pitches, 41 for strikes, in three innings plus three batters.
“I don’t think he was overly sharp from the get-go,” Boone said. “I thought stuff-wise he was OK. He certainly didn’t seem as electric as his last time out … [And] I thought the Red Sox did a really nice job of laying off close pitches.”
It wasn’t good enough, but it wasn’t because of bad preparation, Boone said. So was Darling wrong?
“I’m not saying – I’m saying we had his – he had plenty of warmup,” Boone said. “He was able to get through his normal routine … It wasn’t an issue.”
Maybe not, but everything that came after was.
With Erik Boland