Is the hype warranted?
Day 1 of Luis Severino's career didn't provide a concrete answer -- no truly thoughtful person thought it would -- but there was plenty of reasons for Yankees fans to start counting down the days until his next start to see what's next.
The 21-year-old rookie righthander, making his major league debut Wednesday night at the Stadium, was mostly terrific over five innings.
Unfortunately for the pitcher, the start came on a night when the Yankees' offense, which had scored 90 runs in its previous 10 games, was held in check by Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright in a 2-1 loss in front of 47,489.
Severino, the youngest pitcher to start a game in the majors this season, allowed two runs -- one earned -- and two hits. The righthander, whose fastball sat in the 94-96 mph range and peaked at 97 and who showed an array of quality offspeed stuff, did not walk a batter and struck out seven.
"There's a lot of anxiety that goes into it," Joe Girardi said beforehand of a pitcher making his big-league debut. "Get through the first inning, then we'll see if we can get you on a roll."
Severino (0-1) did well, but it was Wright (5-4, 4.12, who mostly rolled over eight innings. The 30-year-old held the Yankees without a hit until Didi Gregorius' one-out single in the fifth, retiring 10 straight before that, and shut them out until Carlos Beltran's leadoff homer in the seventh made it 2-1. Wright walked two and struck out a season-best nine.
Koji Uehara got Alex Rodriguez to foul out to start the ninth but Mark Teixeira singled, reaching when his broken-bat flare to right was incorrectly called a catch but overturned via replay. Chris Young came in to pinch run and, with Beltran up, went to second on a wild pitch. Beltran flew out to center and Chase Headley walked, bringing up Brian McCann, pinch hitting for Gregorius. McCann, battling left knee inflammation which is expected to keep him out of the starting lineup at least a couple of days, flew out to center to end it, allowing Uehara to record his 24th save.
Severino's first pitch of the night was a called strike on a 94-mph fastball to Brock Holt. Holt took a ball then looked at another strike, this one 96 mph. A slider in the dirt made it 2-and-2. With the count full, Holt grounded to first on a 97-mph fastball.
The pitcher's first strikeout came a batter later when Xander Bogaerts got caught looking at a late-moving 91-mph slider and Severino ended the 1-2-3, 17-pitch inning by getting David Ortiz to ground out.
The Red Sox took the lead in the second, scoring an unearned run. Severino retired the first two batters, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, and appeared as if he had retired the third when Mike Napoli grounded to third. But Chase Headley threw low to first, his team-high 18th error, allowing Napoli to pull into second. The next batter, Alejandro De Aza. lined a 1-and-1 cutter off the wall in right-center, the RBI double made it 1-0.
Ortiz led off the fourth by jumping on a 2-and-0 fastball, which came in belt-high and straight, and launching it deep into the bleachers in right-center, a place that hasn't seen many baseballs since this ballpark opened in 2009. The monstrous shot, which ESPN Stats and Info estimated to have traveled 441 feet, made it 2-0. Severino allowed just two homers in the minor leagues this season.