On Saturday afternoon, the Yankees’ offense brought the bats, Luis Severino brought the mound excellence, and the weather brought the rain. All combined to yield a 10-0 Yankees win over the Braves in a six-inning ballgame.
The most important part of today was ensuring that Severino got through his final spring start healthy after missing his last scheduled outing on Wednesday due to some soreness. Simply put, he was electric, hardly making any mistakes as he dazzled the Braves’ lineup through four shutout innings of one-hit ball, striking out three batters and walking none. Severino’s fastball sat between 95-98 mph for the vast majority of his day, and he spun some pretty nasty secondaries.
4 clean innings of work from @LuisSeverino94 pic.twitter.com/NS0eDfOi8a— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 2, 2022
All the Yankees need now is for Severino to remain in good shape in the days following this outing, and he’ll be ready to go for next weekend against the Red Sox, his first start since the 2019 ALCS.
The Yankees’ hitters had quite a nice day, too. They got on the board in a hurry during their half of the first against Atlanta starter Spencer Strider, though it could’ve been more than a single run. That tally came off the bat of Aaron Judge, who smacked a 103.6-mph laser to the opposite field and over the right field — an excellent imitation of a Yankee Stadium homer:
All Rise. pic.twitter.com/DRQxRpxJPF— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 2, 2022
The Yankees followed Judge’s blast by loading the bases with one out on singles by Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu, sandwiched around a walk to Giancarlo Stanton. Joey Gallo jumped on Strider’s first pitch and absolutely clobbered it at 111.9 mph. Seventy-five percent of the time, the way he made contact would’ve resulted in a hit, but this time, it immediately found the glove of right fielder Eddie Rosario. Rizzo tried to tag and score, but because it was hit so hard, it resulted in a double play.
The next inning, the Yankees made up for it with the help of Aaron Hicks. He led off the frame with a perfect bunt single up the third-base line:
lol love a drag bunt single away from the shift pic.twitter.com/N8KtxXzxdw— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) April 2, 2022
Hicks followed by faking a stolen base attempt, and when Atlanta catcher Manny Piña threw down, the ball went into center field. So Hicks moved to second anyway, and while Marwin Gonzalez and Kyle Higashioka went down on strikes, Josh Donaldson cashed in the RBI opportunity with a single to center.
After putting single digits on the scoreboard during the first couple frames, the Yankees’ offense added a crooked number in the third. Rizzo obliterated Strider’s first pitch, sending it out for his first homer of the spring:
Givin' 'em the Rizzness. pic.twitter.com/RJ4xMHmfYG— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 2, 2022
Strider fanned Stanton, but he got knocked out of the game after a LeMahieu single and Gallo walk put two runners on for Hicks. Justin Maese was the new man on the mound, and as it turned out, a 24-year-old non-prospect who spent 2021 in High-A wasn’t destined to shut down the Yankees on this spring day.
After a wild pitch from Maese, Hicks ripped a two-run double to right to make it 5-0, Yankees. Gonzalez lined out, but Higashioka continued his scintillating spring with a 415-foot drive to left field, his MLB-best sixth long ball of camp:
The Higgy Hammer. pic.twitter.com/yIVaSIwuDA— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 2, 2022
Higgy extended that homer lead to seven in his very next at-bat, this time off Jake Higginbotham. The onus will be on Higashioka to demonstrate that this power display isn’t just a spring training anomaly, but it’s been great to see him making great contact.
Maese coughed up two more runs in the fourth as his day just got uglier. Judge singled and Maese followed by plunking Rizzo, walking Stanton, scoring Judge on a wild pitch, and allowing a LeMahieu single that sent him to the showers in a 9-0 ballgame. Ouch.
Expected No. 5 starter Nestor Cortes relieved Severino and did just fine on his own. He sent the Braves down in order in the fifth and worked around an Orlando Arcia double in the sixth to complete two scoreless innings, with three strikeouts as well.
After Cortes got Matt Olson to fly out to right, the rain really began to come down in Tampa. Rather than trying to wait it out, the teams didn’t wait terribly long to call it. A half-hour later, the Yankees had a rain-shortened 10-0 victory. They’ll travel to Dunedin tomorrow to face the Blue Jays at 1:07pm ET with Clarke Schmidt scheduled to face Shaun Anderson.