Luis Severino’s Major Sophomore Slump

The New York Yankees haven’t gotten off to a very good start. They are 9-17 and currently sit in last place in the AL East. One of the major reasons for the team’s early struggles has been their starting pitching. Among the Yankees five starters, Luis Severino has had it the roughest thus far.

The 22-year old right hander has been less than impressive over the course of his five starts in 2016. For a guy that many thought would be one of the best pitchers on the Yankees this season, his lackluster performance has been a huge surprise. In fact, he has underperformed so much so that sending him down to the minor leagues isn’t really out of the question.

In his five starts, Severino is 0-4 with an ERA of 6.31. He has failed to pitch beyond the sixth inning in any of those starts. His best game of the season came back on April 21 against the Oakland Athletics. That day, he allowed just two earned runs on seven hits and collected four strikeouts. That’s the Luis Severino Yankee fans are accustomed to seeing. Unfortunately for them, that’s the only time this year he’s really looked like himself.

On Tuesday night, Severino started for the Yankees on the road against the Baltimore Orioles. There was a lot of pressure on him going into the game. The Yankees were coming off a weekend in which they were swept by the Boston Red Sox, extending their losing streak to five games. The team was hoping that Severino could help stop the bleeding. He was not able to however, as the Yankees fell to the Orioles 4-1. Severino did not pitch terribly, but he didn’t pitch great either. He allowed four runs, three of them earned, on five hits over six innings of work. His strikeout numbers continued to be less than impressive, as he was only able to strikeout four Orioles. Severino allowed two home runs in the game, both hit by Mark Trumbo.

Home runs haven’t exactly been the problem for Severino. He had only allowed two for the season going into Tuesday night’s game. Walks haven’t been an issue either, as he’s only walked five batters this year. The major problem for him has been strikeouts. Severino only has 16 strikeouts in his five starts. That’s an average of a little more than three strikeouts per game. Power pitchers like him need to strikeout a lot of batters in order to really be effective. That’s part of the reason he had so much success last season after being called up in August. Severino made 11 starts in 2015, going 5-3 while posting an ERA of 2.89. In 62.1 innings pitched, he recorded 56 strikeouts.

His impressive performance in 2015 is exactly the reason why so many Yankee fans are so disappointed in how poorly he’s pitched in 2016. They know that Severino has a lot of potential. He showed how good he can be last season. Unfortunately for them, he’s yet to show that promise this year. There’s still plenty of time for him to turn it around. If he doesn’t however, a trip back to Triple-A might be in his future.

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