BALTIMORE — Shortly after the Yankees wrapped up their weekend series against the Orioles with a 9-3 loss, players and coaches could be seen feasting on a local delicacy outside of the team’s clubhouse.
The Yankees enjoyed piles of Maryland crabs, complete with the customary wooden mallets that are often used to crack the crustaceans open. To get to the meat, one must club the seasoned crabs — much like the Orioles clubbed Luis Severino earlier in the night.
The Yankees had hoped that the right-hander had figured things out, as his last two outings showed noticeable improvement following an abysmal seven-start stretch, but that was far from the case. While the most recent outing, a 5.2-inning, three-run start against the Royals wasn’t spotless, the optimistic outlook was that Severino had strung together some performances to build on after allowing 33 earned runs over 31.1 innings between June 2 and July 6.
But whatever foundation Severino had laid came crashing to the ground Sunday at Camden Yards, where the first-place Orioles obliterated the former Cy Young finalist.
“Right now, I feel like I’m the worst pitcher in the game,” Severino said after being charged with all nine Orioles runs over 3.1 innings. “No doubt about it.”
Baltimore jumped Severino as soon as he took the mound, beginning the game with two singles before Anthony Santander started the scoring with an RBI double. Ryan O’Hearn immediately followed with a two-run double before Adam Frazier drilled a three-run homer.
With Severino searching yet again, the Orioles had themselves a 6-0 lead before the Yankees had an out. Baltimore plated one more runner when Adley Rutschman logged an RBI single in his second at-bat of the opening frame.
Severino avoided damage for a few innings after that, but Gunnar Henderson gave the Orioles an eighth run with a double in the fourth. O’Hearn then knocked Severino out of the game with an RBI single.
Sunday was the fifth time in 12 starts that the hurler surrendered at least five earned runs in a game this season. The impending free agent now has a 7.49 ERA this year.
“I won’t stop working,” Severino said, adding that he’s 100% healthy. Asked if he can tinker any differently, he replied, “I don’t now, but I’ll listen to suggestions.”
Severino also expressed confidence that he can still be the pitcher he’s been in the past, but he conceded “nothing that I do is working.”
Unable to show consistent improvement, it wouldn’t surprise if Severino lost his rotation spot after Nestor Cortes makes what is expected to be his final rehab start on Wednesday. While Boone said the Yankees will just focus on improving Severino’s execution right now, the pitcher acknowledged his uncertain status.
“I mean, right now, I don’t know what could happen or what’s gonna happen,” Severino said, adding that he’s just worried about getting better. “If they decide to do that, that’s their decision.”
While Severino faltered again on the mound, the Yankees’ offense returned to dormancy with Aaron Judge expectedly resting in his third game back from the injured list. Jake Bauers crushed a solo homer in the third and added an RBI double in the fourth off Dean Kramer, but that was hardly enough as the Yankees set a season-high with 18 strikeouts.
Still, Boone claimed that the Yankees’ at-bats “carried some of that momentum” from their 8-3 win on Saturday. Never mind that there are 27 outs in a nine-inning game.
“Outside of the strikeouts, I thought at-bats were building off of last night,” Boone said. “I thought we grinded out really well. We made it really tough on Kremer. We couldn’t finish off. We had a couple of good scoring opportunities where we had the bases loaded. We had maybe a first and second or second and third another time.
“But obviously, they beat us up with the strikeout, too, and that’s why we weren’t able to throw more crooked numbers up there. But the 18, that’s a big number, right? But I do think a lot of guys had good at-bats building off of last night.”
While Harrison Bader also picked up an RBI with a sac fly in the fifth, the Yankees left 10 men on base and went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
With Sunday’s loss, the last-place Yankees are now 3.5 games out of the final wild card spot. As Tuesday’s trade deadline looms, it remains to be seen what the front office will do after a losing weekend in Baltimore.
On Saturday, the Yankees looked like a team worth adding to. On Sunday, they looked like a team that should sell, though their 55-50 record is better than that of some teams that have already committed to buying, or at least keeping their squad together.
Also on the horizon are home series against the Rays and Astros, who occupy the first two wild card spots. The third currently belongs to the Blue Jays.
Domingo Germán will start Monday’s series-opener against Tyler Glasnow and Tampa Bay, while Carlos Rodón will face Zach Eflin in Tuesday’s game. Wednesday’s series finale will feature a duel between aces Gerrit Cole and Shane McClanahan — and perhaps some fresh faces on both sides.
Either way, the Yankees will look to bounce back at Yankee Stadium.
“It could be,” Anthony Rizzo said when asked if the upcoming home stand will be telling when it comes to the Yankees’ chances of making a run. “But there’s 50-plus games left, and with this division we can get hot and teams can get cold and we can be spring-jumping in two weeks, so we can’t lose sight of that. With that being said, there’s less than two months left and we got to do it.”