Yankees pitcher Luis Severino has a solid 2023 debut as New York sweeps the Reds.

The Yankees completed a sweep of the Reds in Cincinnati thanks to Severino, who gave up just one run in 4 2/3 innings.

The Yankees defeated the Reds 4-1 despite not having Aaron Judge in the starting lineup on Sunday. The offense was driven by big balls from Harrison Bader and Gleyber Torres, while the return of Luis Severino to the rotation set the stage for a good day of pitching. The Yankees are now 11-3 in their last 14 games after completing a sweep of the Reds with the victory.

The main story concerned Severino’s 2023 debut. Late in spring training, the right-hander suffered a lat injury, and he has been recovering ever since. Severino, a two-time All-Star, placed as high as third in the 2018 Cy Young voting, but he’s also had a lot of injuries over the past few seasons. Only three games in 2019, four in 2021, and 19 last season were played with him on the field because of Tommy John surgery and other health issues.

Severino pitched 4 2/3 innings against the Reds on a low pitch count (he finished with 75), allowing just one run on four hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. On his 68th pitch of the game, his fastball reached a high speed of 98.6 mph, hovering between 96 and 97 mph.

The one run he permitted was also the subject of some debate. Jake Bauers of the New York Yankees was unable to make a sliding catch on a Spencer Steer looping liner in the first inning. Initially deemed a foul ball, the replay review determined it to be fair. Jonathan India, who had been at first base, was given home plate by the officials. Aaron Boone, the manager of the Yankees, was dismissed for objecting to the umpiring staff’s decision to count the run.

Given that India was moving toward third base and Bauers was lying on the ground with the ball behind him, the call was entirely reasonable. However, since this wasn’t a ground-rule double or an automatic double, the umpires were free to make their own decisions regarding where to place the runners.

Bader’s two-run blast gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning:

With a home run by Torres and an RBI double by Anthony Volpe, they would add two more.

The Yankees have now won 11 of their last 14 games and are now nine games over.500 for the first time this season at 29-20. The return of Severino is important from a macro perspective as well because Carlos Rodón and Frankie Montas are still on the disabled list.