If Luis Severino wanted to hit Mookie Betts, you better believe he would have been drilled.
That was the New York Yankees right-hander’s defense of his high-and-inside fastball that knocked Betts down during the first inning at Fenway Park on Friday night. The home plate umpire issued a warning to both teams after the pitch, appearing to assume that Severino’s pitch was retaliation for Rick Porcello unintentionally hitting Brett Garnder in the top of the inning.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora stormed out of the dugout after the warnings were issued and Cora was given a quick ejection by the home plate umpire. Cora appeared to yell in the direction of Severino as he left the field, letting the young ace know how he felt about the pitch.
After the Red Sox’s 4-1 win, Severino denied any intent on the pitch to Betts.
“Nah, that was the first pitch of the game,” Severino said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I’m not going to hit anybody. If I’m going to hit somebody, I’m not going to miss.
“I mean, first pitch of the game, if I get a (expletive) warning, it’s going to be surprising of course. I wasn’t trying to hit nobody, and not even Mookie. Mookie’s a great guy. And if I’m going to hit somebody, I’m not going to go to the head. That’s not right.”
Cora still was fuming after the game, as the Sox manager fired a parting shot at Severino during his postgame press conference.
The two teams will renew their rivalry Saturday in Game 3 of the series.