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Yankees’ Luis Severino faces Tigers, seeks another strong start

Apr 14, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA;  New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) pitches in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Luis Severino will take his heartwarming comeback story on the road when the New York Yankees face the host Detroit Tigers in the second game of a three-game series on Wednesday evening.

The right-hander made two promising home starts after three injury-plagued seasons.

Severino (1-0, 2.25 ERA) pitched three innings against Boston in his season debut on April 9, then tossed five scoreless innings against Toronto’s potent lineup on Thursday, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out six.

“The changeup is a real factor for him now. I thought he used the slider and the cutter and his fastball all really well,’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Got into some trouble in one of those early innings, not really much of his own doing, but he made big pitches when he did get into a little bit of a jam. Just overall, he was really sharp. Just another encouraging step for Sev.”

Elbow and shoulder injuries limited Severino to seven appearances in the past three years. He was a 19-game winner in 2018.

Severino has regained his old velocity — his fastball averaged 97.6 mph against the Blue Jays.

“They give me the ball. I want to compete — that’s my main thing, try to help my team,” Severino said. “Not only for me (but) for the fans. I’ve been away for a long time. I want to go out there compete and show the fans that I still have it.”

Severino is 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in five career starts against Detroit.

Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1, 5.87 ERA) is looking for his first victory with the Tigers after signing a five-year contract as a free agent. The left-hander gave up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings to his former team, Boston, during his second start this season on April 13. Only two of those runs were earned, but he allowed four extra-base hits.

Rodriguez has faced the Yankees 23 times, more than any other opponent. He’s 8-6 with a 3.72 ERA in those outings, which include 21 starts. He’s held Giancarlo Stanton to two hits in 16 official at-bats, with nine strikeouts.

The Yankees won the series opener on Tuesday, 4-2, at Comerica Park. The game required one minute shy of four hours to complete as each pitching staff issued eight walks.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole lasted just 1 2/3 innings; he walked five and gave up two runs while throwing 68 pitches. Detroit’s Tyler Alexander was pulled after laboring through a 42-pitch first inning. A total of 14 pitchers took the mound on a blustery 43-degree night.

“It only got worse as the night went on weather-wise,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “It was that way for both teams. They did a little bit more with their opportunities. Tonight, by evidence of the walks on both sides, you could tell it was hard for the pitchers to control the ball and it was tough (for the batters) to find hits.”

There were no extra-base hits in the game. The Yankees scored the first two runs when a popup between the mound and home plate bounced off Alexander’s glove. He was charged with an error.

Leadoff man Aaron Hicks continues to be the Yankees’ best source of offense. Hicks, who is batting .345, reached base three times, scored two runs and drove in another.

–Field Level Media