Severino carries Yankees to season sweep of Mets
NEW YORK — Luis Severino and Steven Matz looked as if they would be linked together in New York for years in the summer of 2015, when they made their major league debuts within six weeks of one another and pitched dynamically as rookies.
However, Severino and Matz never seemed further apart than Thursday night, when Severino took another step toward becoming the New York Yankees’ long-desired homegrown ace and Matz sent the New York Mets back to the drawing board.
Severino earned the win by tossing 6 1/3 strong innings, and Matz took the loss after allowing a career-high-tying seven runs in the Yankees’ 7-5 victory in the Subway Series finale at Citi Field.
The Yankees completed a four-game sweep of the home-and-home Subway Series this week, the teams’ only meetings of the season.
The strong start for Severino (10-5) provided the Yankees more evidence he is able to learn from his mistakes without becoming overwhelmed by them. Severino made his debut on Aug. 5, 2015, and went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts while going back and forth between the majors and minors that season. He finished 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA in 22 games (11 starts) for New York in 2016.
The 23-year-old cruised on Thursday, when he allowed an unearned run on four hits and three walks while striking out nine. He lowered his ERA to 3.18.
“I think a lot of times in life, you grow more through your struggles than you do your success,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Last year, he went through his struggles and figured out what he needed to do to be really successful at this level over and over.”
Severino recovered to make the American League All-Star team this season but entered Thursday looking to bounce back from the worst start of his career. Last Saturday, he gave up 10 runs (eight earned) over 4 1/3 innings in the Yankees’ 10-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
“I was ahead in the count most of the time,” Severino said. “This time, I just went after everyone.”
The Mets got just two runners into scoring position in the first six innings against Severino, who carried a two-hit shutout into the seventh, when Aaron Judge dropped a one-out fly ball by Travis d’Arnaud for a two-base error. Matt Reynolds followed with an RBI single.
“Sometimes you have to make the adjustments, and that’s what he learned how to do last year,” Girardi said. “And I think it helps him make the adjustment after a poor start.”
The Mets are running out of possible adjustments to make with Matz, who gave up a three-run homer to Gary Sanchez in the first inning and was chased after giving up the Yankees’ final four runs in the fourth. Brett Gardner had a two-run double off Matz, and Sanchez greeted reliever Chasen Bradford with a two-run single for a 7-0 lead.
The five RBIs tied a career high for Sanchez.
Matz (2-7) allowed the seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and two walks while striking out four over 3 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old is 0-6 with a 10.19 ERA in his past eight starts after going 15-9 with a 2.99 ERA in his first 33 big league starts.
He went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in six regular-season starts in 2015 following his debut on June 28 that year. Matz also made three postseason starts during the Mets’ World Series run.
“We absolutely ring the rag dry with ideas that we’ve all seen in that past, that we’ve all used in the past,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I think Steven’s open to any suggestions. But when he’s out on the mound, he’s got to just think about one thing, and that’s making a quality pitch.”
Collins said Matz, who had bone chips removed from his left elbow last October and didn’t debut this season until June 11 due to left elbow inflammation, told him he was healthy. However, Collins didn’t rule out having him skip a start to either give Matz some rest or time to figure out what’s wrong.
“He said he was fine, so we’ve got to find some different answers, something that might work,” Collins said.
The Mets pulled within 7-5 in the ninth, when Curtis Granderson hit a grand slam off Bryan Mitchell, who didn’t retire any of the four batters he faced. Dellin Betances then recorded the final three outs for his eighth save as the Yankees (65-55) swept the season series from the Mets for just the second time ever. The Yankees went 6-0 in 2003.
Reynolds and d’Arnaud each had two hits for the Mets (53-66), who are at least 13 games under .500 for the first time since ending the 2013 season 74-88.
NOTES: The Yankees lead the all-time Subway Series 66-46. ... The Mets recalled INFs Gavin Cecchini and Matt Reynolds from Triple-A Las Vegas, placed INF Jose Reyes (left oblique) on the 10-day disabled list and optioned RHP Kevin McGowan to Las Vegas. ... The Yankees placed 1B Garrett Cooper (left hamstring) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled 1B Tyler Austin from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.