After the Red Sox crushed Yankees pitching on Saturday night, manager Aaron Boone was hoping his ace would flip the script in the rubber match on Sunday. Luis Severino was up for the challenge
Severino won his league-leading 13th game of the season on Sunday with an 11-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. He struck out six batters in 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and leaving five Boston hitters stranded on the basepaths as he won his fourth straight start.
This outing was the exact opposite of his first start against the Sox this season, where he allowed five runs over five innings. His second outing was much better with 11 strikeouts and only two runs crossing the plate on his watch.
Asked about facing the Yankees' bitter rival, Severino responded, "I'm not scared of anybody." That lack of fear is why Boone loves giving Severino the nod when it's his turn to throw.
"He is our ace and one of the best pitchers in the game. I love handing him the ball," Boone told The Post's George A. King III. "He set the tone tonight, went deep in the game and was on top of his game."
Severino was in control early. He didn't allow a hit until Andrew Benintendi's two-out single in the third inning gave the Red Sox their best scoring opportunity of the game. But he shut the door with a beautiful 3-2 changeup on the outside black that got J.D. Martinez swinging to end the inning.
The 24-year-old though that 89-mph changeup was the most important pitch of his start.
"I thought it was the best spot to throw it, it was the key to the game," he said.
It also helped Severino to look at the scoreboard and see all the insurance he had to work with. The Yankees' offense smashed their way to a 4-0 lead in the first, and that quickly moved to 6-0 in the second after Aaron Hicks belted his first of three homers on the night.
"We have a great offense but today it was amazing," Severino said.
The Yankees have won 16 of Severino's 18 starts this season as he has emerged a strong candidate to start the All-Star Game later this month. His 1.98 ERA leads the American League and is second in the majors to Jacob deGrom's 1.84 ERA.
Including his eight scoreless innings against the Rays on June 16 and seven scoreless innings against the Phillies last Tuesday, Severino has not allowed a run in three of his last four starts. He has a 0.99 ERA in that span with 29 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings.