Yankees ace Severino faces Reds' Bailey (Jul 26, 2017)

BY AP • July 26, 2017

NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka was projected to be the ace for the New York Yankees.

Projections are not turning into reality for Tanaka, and instead Luis Severino is pitching like the No. 1 starter.

Severino looks to turn in another ace-like showing Wednesday afternoon when the Yankees conclude a two-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at Yankee Stadium.

Tanaka is 7-9 with a 5.37 ERA while showcasing inconsistency and the tendency to allow home runs. Severino is 6-4 with a 3.21 ERA, and he is fifth in the AL with 136 strikeouts.

Severino has especially shined recently. Since allowing a three-run homer to Milwaukee's Domingo Santana in the first inning July 8, the right-hander has allowed one earned run in his past 20 innings.

Severino produced two strong starts during New York's 11-game road trip. In a 16-inning win at Boston on July 15, he allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. Five days later in Seattle, Severino allowed eight hits in seven scoreless innings during a 4-1 win.

"He's been unbelievable," Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said after the July 20 outing. "Not just tonight but last week in Boston and the whole first half.

"It's been fun to watch him grow. He makes it easy on the defense because there's not much action for us. He's only going to continue to get better. He's got a great arm."

Severino threw 100 pitches against the Mariners, including a 101.2 mph fastball to Jean Segura in the seventh inning that was clocked as the hardest pitch thrown by a starter this season.

While the speed might be surprising, Severino often is clocked in the high 90s in the later portions of his outings.

"Sometimes his last inning is the inning that he throws the hardest, and that might be him saying, 'OK, I'm emptying the tank,'" Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But I think it really contributes to his success because it doesn't fall off and his location continues to be good."

After facing off with aces Chris Sale and Felix Hernandez, Severino will oppose Cincinnati's Homer Bailey on Wednesday.

Bailey is 2-4 with an 8.56 ERA in six starts since returning in late June from arthroscopic surgery in his right shoulder. Bailey has allowed two runs or fewer in half of his outings, but in the other starts, the right-hander has been tagged for 22 runs in 8 2/3 innings.

Bailey last pitched Friday against the Miami Marlins. Although it was a 3-1 loss, he allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings while recording three double plays.

"It was a really weird game," Bailey said. "I felt the ball was coming out of my hand real well. Early on, I left some sliders up but got them in my spots later. I think this is going to be an up-and-down year. I have to compete with what I have that day."

Bailey will be making his second career start against the Yankees. He picked up a win in New York on May 19, 2012, when he allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Although Bailey has limited experience against the Yankees, he has somewhat extensive experience facing Matt Holliday and Chase Headley. Holliday is 14-for-43 (.326) off Bailey, and Headley is 4-for-15 (.267).

Severino has never faced Cincinnati.

The Yankees will be trying to get a third straight win for the first time since their six-game winning streak June 7-12. New York is 7-5 since the All-Star break after opening the Cincinnati series with a 4-2 victory Tuesday.

Todd Frazier made his home debut after the Yankees obtained the third baseman from the Chicago White Sox a week ago. He hit into a run-scoring triple play and was 1-for-2 with a walk.

"That has to be a record -- first home at-bat with the Yankees hitting into a triple play," Frazier said. "It's funny to laugh now, but I was upset at the time. But it was a great experience from start to finish, and we got the W."

The Reds are 2-10 since the All-Star break, and they mustered only three hits Tuesday.

Cincinnati All-Star shortstop Zack Cozart did not start but entered as a pinch hitter and tweaked his quadriceps running the bases in the eighth inning. He was removed from the game and is listed as day-to-day.

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