Red Sox great Pedro Martinez, left, and Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino.
By Brendan Kuty
“He told me to be at the stadium at 1 o’clock,” Severino said. “I got there at 11.”
“Luis Severino was great today, great slider, attacking the strike zone!” Martinez wrote. “And I loved his tempo on the mound tonight! So proud of this kid.”
Severino could only smile when someone showed him the tweet from a cell phone.
“To be able to work with him means a lot to me. I call him anytime. He’s always there for me to work (with) anytime,” said Severino, whose 11 strikeouts was a career high.
Severino lasted seven innings, giving up just five hits and a walk and two earned runs. The victory snapped Severino’s 13-start winless drought. It was his first win as a starter since September 2015.
Severino (23 years, 52 days) became the youngest Yankees pitcher to strike out at least 11 in a game since Al Leiter (23 years, 174 days) in 1988.
Martinez and Severino grew close in the offseason.
The Dominican Republic natives worked out several times together. They talked a lot about Severino’s mechanics, specifically about how he could repeat his release point, which would help his control and make it harder for hitters to know what’s coming.
They continued to text through spring training.
Thursday’s outing was much better than Severino’s previous start. After being named the Yankees’ fourth starter almost by default — nobody stepped up an won the job in the team’s spring training competition — Severino gave up four runs in five innings and got the no-decision in Baltimore.
That night, he threw 89 pitches. In seven innings Thursday, he threw 104.
He couldn’t wait to talk to Martinez about it.
“He’s just a good guy who does those kinds of things,” said Severino, who added that he planned to text Martinez later in the night.