The Yankees had expected to hand the ball for tonight’s game against the Rays to Luis Severino, hoping for a sweep. They’ll still be aiming for three wins in a row over Tampa, but Sevy won’t be a part of the proceedings.
This afternoon, the Yankees announced that Severino was placed on the COVID-IL and that reliever Ryan Weber would take his roster spot. Clarke Schmidt will get the start tonight.
It has to be a bit of a disappointment for Severino, as he was in the middle of his best stretch of consistent pitching since 2018. Over his last five starts in particular, he’d notched a 1.67 ERA, 3.11 FIP, and 40 strikeouts in 32.1 innings with a .522 OPS against. But if he’s sick, then he’s sick; even if he hasn’t tested positive for COVID (yet), it sounds like he had several unpleasant symptoms. Given that I am unfortunately on my own metaphorical COVID-IL, I can sympathize. It isn’t fun, and I’m glad that the Yankees can give him a little rest without playing short.
There’s no word yet on long Schmidt might be able to pitch. This will be his first start of 2022 and his longest outing was back on April 22nd, when he picked up Gerrit Cole’s slack to throw 3.1 innings of shutout ball in an eventual 4-2 victory in Detroit. He threw 54 pitches in that outing, and hasn’t topped 35 in any relief appearance since then. However, he also last pitched on June 10th, so he’ll be fresh to go as long as he can — likely to around 45-50 pitches, per Aaron Boone.
Weber was called up primarily because he’s fine but expendable. The seven-year major leaguer has a 2.95 ERA, 3.55 FIP, and 1.078 WHIP across 21.1 innings for Triple-A Scranton in 2022 (recently taking turns in the rotation). If he’s a somewhat-familiar name, it’s because he threw 83.2 innings for the Red Sox between 2019-20 before beginning the true vagabond stage of his career in 2021. Weber probably won’t embarrass himself and can throw a few innings at a time. Since this is likely a short-term IL stay for Sevy, the Yankees wanted a pitcher who they could DFA without issue if needed (rather than a JP Sears, Hayden Wesneski, or someone more interesting).