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Yankees' Luis Severino continues to be a 'long day at the yard' for opponents

NEW YORK -- Rookie Luis Severino comes to the mound with weapons. He can attack you with a 96 mph fastball to just blow you away. He can fool you with an 88 mph changeup. He can exasperate you with a 90 mph slider.

"It's a long day at the yard when you are facing him," New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann said after Severino's 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball.

In six starts, Severino has a 2.04 ERA. He beat the Rays on Friday 5-2, and the Yankees will be glad that he will open the Blue Jays series next Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

McCann, Alex Rodriguez and Greg Bird all hit homers as the Yankees' only other hit was an infield single by Brett Gardner with two outs in the eighth. Severino didn't need much support, anyway.

Severino, just 21, may have the best stuff on the starting staff. Manager Joe Girardi wouldn't touch a question inquiring if Severino is the filthiest of them all. However, Girardi did rave about Severino's consistency.

Severino has been very solid in each and every outing. Friday was his longest start of his young career. It was the third time in a row he has gone at least six innings and allowed one or fewer runs. Only Masahiro Tanaka with four has had a longer such streak for the Yankees this season.

What makes you think Severino will be able to perform in big spots is that he has command. He is not perfect by any means -- the Rays had some good swings, including Evan Longoria's solo homer in the sixth, which was the only run that Severino allowed, snapping a 16-inning scoreless streak -- but when he needs to dial up or down he can.

In the first, he allowed a one-out double, so he turned to his 90 mph slider to retire Longoria and John Jaso to squash the threat. In the second, he ended the inning with two men on by using a 96 mph fastball to strike out J.P. Arencibia. In the fourth, with two men on, he went back to the 90 mph slider to force Kevin Kiermaier to ground out.

In the sixth, he showed it all. After Longoria's homer cut the lead to two, Severino allowed two runners to reach base.

Against Kiermaier, Severino showed a good-morning 87 mph changeup that was fouled off, a good-afternoon 89 mph slider that was also fouled, and a good-night 96 mph fastball that Kiermaier missed. That is what Severino can bring to a game.

"He's been doing that since the first start," McCann said.

Severino has a presence and a confidence. Even after the game, Severino, from the Dominican Republic, shook off his interpreter and decided to conduct his interview in English, his second language.

"I'm very excited to help the team," Severino said.

The Yankees are very excited to have him. He may be their most talented starter and appears up to the task of the big stage.

"He's just got poise," McCann said. "He belongs. He knows he belongs."

It is because he has weapons. That is what makes Severino so good and so promising.