Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
If you happened to be at Yankee Stadium Monday night, you not only witnessed Jacob deGrom dominate yet another opponent, but you saw his fastball rise and explode as it met the hitter, and heard that extra pop in the catcher's glove.
And you saw and heard none of that when the Yankees' Luis Severino was pitching..
The Yankees' ace continued to be a major concern -- the type of problem that, when combined with the absence of a star like the injured Aaron Judge -- can sink a team's World Series hopes. It's not just the numbers, although those are bad, and they include a 7.50 ERA over his last seven starts and 11 homers allowed over that span. It's the sizzle missing from his pitches -- a problem that actually worsened Monday night.
"The last couple outings where I feel like he's getting some life back on that fastball and on that slider, I didn't see that life as much today," Aaron Boone said. "Even though we saw some good velocity numbers, just getting that crispness back … Where you really notice the shape on that slider, where that fastball really has that ride, that pop on the end. It didn't seem like he really had that tonight necessarily."
That suggests fatigue more than injury, because Severino's velocity is fine. That's a problem with no obvious solution. You can skip a guy, limit his innings for a few starts, push him through it; fixing this problem is more about trial-and-error than science. (A defiant Severino insisted, "I'm definitely not tired," but the eyes and ears suggest otherwise).
"Those are all conversations that we all have," Boone said. "From the training staff to strength and conditioning, front office. Those are the conversations we constantly have about our players and we'll continue to do so. But I don't' think this is the kind of situation where we're planning on skipping anything right now.
"A lot of times guys … pitch through a little fatigue, pitch through a little dead period where they're struggling for a little bit, and they kind of grind their way through it."
There's no way to know if Severino will catch another wind before the season is over. Neither Boone nor pitching coach Larry Rothschild can control it. All they can do is hope that a potentially magical season doesn't fizzle because of Judge's wrist and Severino's exhausted body.
"We've got to help him get to the bottom of it," Boone said. "We've got to get him righted and that's on all of us because obviously he's so important."