Luis Severino views himself as the rock of the Mets rotation

Mike Puma


Jose Quintana pitched the game of the season for the Mets on Sunday. A day later, Luis Severino said: “Hold my beer.”

If you blinked, you missed it, but on this comfortable spring night, Severino revved up a quickfire pitch through the Cubs, taking a no-hitter in the eighth inning before Dansby Swanson's hit toward left field was too high for Francisco Lindor's outstretched glove.

This was the only hit Severino allowed over 101 runs. He took off his hat in front of the fans at Citi Field as he left the field after scoring the final run in the eighth. But at that point, the Cubs had made their first run at the plate — after Joey Wendle incorrectly decided to attempt an inning-ending double play on Nick Madrigal's slugger to third instead of shooting home — and the Mets' win was now in jeopardy. .

Luis Severino plays during the Mets' loss to the Cubs on April 29, 2024. Noah K. Murray-New York Post

Then it was gone, with Christopher Morrell's two-run homer against Edwin Diaz in the ninth inning that sent the Mets to a 3-1 loss.

This is just completely cruel.

But you know from that that Severino is back playing at a level rarely seen since his early years with the Yankees, before Tommy John surgery and other assorted injuries turned him into chronic rehab.

“He was probably as good as I saw,” said manager Carlos Mendoza, who spent six seasons on the Yankees' coaching staff. “Especially with the fastball, in and out, up and down, it was electric.”

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The calendar turns to May as Severino holds a 2.31 ERA — with three straight starts of at least six innings pitched (no mean feat on this team) — as the rock of the rotation that is still at least four weeks away from Kodai Senga's return.

Senga threw a live batting practice in the afternoon, the next step in his shoulder rehabilitation that began at the end of spring training. But the Mets won't see Senga in action until at least May 27, which is the soonest he could return from Illinois.

Luis Severino greets fans during the Mets' loss to the Cubs on April 29, 2024. Noah K. Murray-New York Post

Until then, and perhaps beyond, 30-year-old Severino will lead the charge.

“I feel very good,” Severino said. “I think before when I was younger I was thinking a lot about getting everyone sent out, and now I'm just focused on getting people out and getting deep into the game. I'm in a different place now.”

The day before, Quintana had worked his way to stay in the game to strike out the Cardinals' Wilson Contreras and complete the eighth inning. The Mets haven't had a baserunner even in the seventh inning all season, but Quintana raised the bar.

It's only fitting that Severino's flirtation with history came on the second anniversary of the Mets' most recent failure. This was the combined no-hitter that featured Taylor Miguel, Drew Smith, Julie Rodriguez, Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz taking on the Phillies.

History is not lost on Diaz.

“I was on the playing field knowing I could get back to the same position I was in two years ago,” Diaz said.

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Luis Severino looks at his initial personality. Noah K. Murray-New York Post

Both Brandon Nimmo and Mendoza pointed to the same phase of the game, after Severino hit the final out of the sixth inning on 69 pitches, as the moment they knew the veteran right-hander had a chance at history.

Severino returned to the mound in the seventh and needed just 10 pitches to get three outs (he struck out Mike Tauchman), increasing his odds of joining Johan Santana, the only one-hitter in franchise history. This won't take 134 pitches.

But the eighth began with Severino walking Michael Bush, giving the Cubs their third base runner, before Swanson singled to Lindor's glove on a sinker that Severino said he placed as well as he had hoped.

“[Swanson] “I just got it,” Severino said. “[Tomas] Nido and I were on the same page all night. He called great pitches and he called that pitch and I was making sure there was a good pitch, so that was a great pitch and he deserves credit for it.

After Wendell whiffed on a double play attempt in the eighth of the Cubs' first inning, Diaz allowed a double to Tauchman in the ninth and delivered a 97 mph fastball that Morrell crushed into the left field seats.

Instead of being a historic night, it was just one Monday night for the Mets.

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