NEW YORK — The man nicknamed “Louisiana Lightning” says he believes one day soon he’ll be deferring to Luis Severino, making way as the current New York Yankees ace passes him on a franchise records list.
“One of these nights, that kid’s going to walk out on that mound and God’s going to touch him and something magical is going to happen,” Louisiana-born former Yankees starter Ron Guidry said about Severino.
Specifically, Guidry says Severino will outperform the 18-strikeout performance he had in 1978. Four days shy of the 40th anniversary of that game, Guidry on Thursday identified the young right-hander as the pitcher who will break his record.
“He’s got the ability to push 20, 21,” Guidry said. “I sit down and we watch a lot — my wife and I — we watch a lot of games. And I’ve already told her that he’s going to have a night.”
“He’s electric when he goes out there. I mean he’s got the talent, he’s got the ability. He’s turning himself into a dominant pitcher in the American League.”
Also the owner of the Yankees’ single-season strikeout record (248), set during that same 1978 season, Guidry had his share of magical nights in a year that ended with him claiming a Cy Young Award and leading the Yankees to one of the two World Series he helped them win.
The 24-year-old Severino is scheduled to make his next start Sunday. At 9-2 with a 2.27 ERA and 109 strikeouts, the right-hander has anchored the Yankees’ staff. He’s currently on pace to glide past Guidry’s single-season strikeouts record and post 280.
“Look, records are made to be broken,” said Guidry, who was speaking to reporters on his bobblehead night. “Mine has lasted 40 years. I think it’s going to be him. As good as he is, he’s going to go out one night and he’s going to be blessed, and he’s going to do something spectacular.
“He’s certainly the ace of this staff, but he’s turning himself into one of the best pitchers in baseball, OK? Because he throws as hard as anybody, but he throws as hard longer than most guys. He tops out in the seventh, eighth inning at 98 and 99 [mph].”
Guidry compiled a 25-3 record in 1978 before pitching the Yankees to a win in a one-game playoff with the Boston Red Sox for the division pennant. He went 2-0 in two starts that postseason as the Yankees won the World Series.
“Now he might go out and pitch a perfect game. He might never strike out the 18,” Guidry added on Severino. “But what I’m saying is, he’s so special that there’s going to be one night where he’s having a great season, and he’s going to be dominant, and then something magical’s going to happen.”