Sports Update 

The Yankees’ Louis Severino explains why he’s struggled this spring

September 26, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; New York Yankees starting quarterback Luis Severino (40) reacts while walking to the dugout at the end of the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Center. Mandatory credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are already having starting problems, with Frankie Montas and Carlos Rodon heading to the injured list. Montas will likely miss most of the 2023 season, potentially keeping him out until August.

Rodon should return in late April after suffering a left forearm strain, which means the Yankees need to get things up and running in the meantime. The remaining starting pitchers include Gerrit Cole, Nestor Curtis, Luis Severino, and Domingo German. Clark Schmidt is battling for a turnover spot at the back end. Due to injuries, he may not have a choice but to appear there.

Cole looked fine this spring training, Curtis has yet to start, and Severino struggled to get going. In fact, Severino hosts a 9.35 ERA across 8.2 innings pitched, striking out 10 strikeouts in three games. Obviously, these aren’t the numbers we’re used to when it comes to Severino, but he has good reason for being contradictory.

“That my slider sucks, that’s what they’re telling me now,” Severino said after his last start. “I need to do more work on my slider. It’s not the movement, it’s just the location actually.”

Via New York Post.

The Yankees know this is part of Luis Severino’s condensation:

Severino’s slider is the bread and butter of his stadium repertoire. He throws the slider 21.1% of the time in 2022, creating a . 169 batting average, two homers, and 44 hits. Produce an infusion rate of 41.6% and a sell rate of 29.3%. In fact, he produces 82% more horizontal motion than a middle pitcher and 13% more vertical motion.

“For me, this is the stadium that takes the longest to prepare,” said Severino. “I just need to work on location more. But everything else has been really good.”

Since the Severino slider requires more work before the regular season, we should expect it to gradually improve. Perhaps he’ll show up two more times before opening day, allowing him to iron out any shortcomings and work out how to locate his slider appropriately.

Manager Aaron Boone has reversed Severino’s opinion on why he has been struggling lately. Considering the fact that his slider is his primary hitting throw, finishing hits has become difficult with poor positioning.

“His slider kind of is the last thing to hone because his stuff is there,” Boone said. “His form is good. Today was another good outing, a good move for him. He comes out real easy, he stays plugged in, he has a really good feel to his shift already. So I’m encouraged where he is.”

The good news is that Severino’s speed seems to be steady, and it’s creeping slowly, so all that’s left is for the slider to reach its full potential, and its numbers should improve significantly.

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