Yesterday wasn’t a good day for Dellin Betances. Actually, that may be an understatement.
Betances entered Saturday’s game in the seventh inning and even though he didn’t surrender any runs, and only gave up a hit, he didn’t look that good. His mechanics would look okay on one pitch and then he’d look out of whack on another pitch. It definitely didn’t seem as if he had earned a second inning of work but inexplicably, Aaron Boone had him go out for the eighth inning. It wasn’t as if Boone didn’t have any fresh arms in the bullpen. David Robertson only threw six pitches on Friday night so he was available and he could have handled the eighth inning. And I know, “Hindsight is 20/20,” but anyone with functioning eyes knew that bringing Betances out for a second inning could turn into a disaster. And it did. So let’s relive that awful eighth inning, shall we?
First, he gave up a 455 foot home run to Yangervis Solarte to break the tie and give Toronto a 4-3 lead.
(Yes, Rob Manfred and everyone else in charge, keep saying that the baseballs aren’t juiced.)
Then, he got Randal Grichuk to strike out swinging.
Next, he gave up a single to Kevin Pillar (This is important).
Then, he got Aldemys Diaz to strike out swinging.
So there’s a runner on and two outs. Betances just needs to get Luke Maile out and he’s out of danger and the Yankees are only down a run.
While Maile is at the plate, Pillar steals second which puts the go-ahead run in scoring position. Then Betances loses Maile and walks him. (This is also important).
Now there’s two on and two out and Gift Ngoepe is at the plate. Pillar steals third. Maile steals second. Pillar steals home which causes Betances to uncork a wild pitch and allows Maile to advance to third. The Blue Jays are now up 5-3.
Mercifully, Ngoepe finally struck out swinging but the damage had been done. The Yankees were down two runs thanks to Betances unraveling in the eighth inning.
Kevin Pillar stole three bases on him. How embarrassing.
After the game, Betances said, “I kind of let things unravel a little bit there.” A little bit? Okay. I guess it’s only a little bit because he didn’t allow five runs.
Betances’ performance got me thinking back to my junior year of high school. I wasn’t a good student. There are many reasons why but the main component was laziness. I just couldn’t be bothered to do homework. It was a habit began in 5th grade and continued throughout high school. There were times when I lucked into good grades but they were mostly bad. So how does tie in with Betances’ performance on Saturday night? Look at how the inning went again. It was both good and bad. When you were watching, you were thinking, “Why couldn’t you just strike/get them all out?” During my junior year, my third quarter report card was the same as Betances’ eighth inning. I got three B’s and three F’s. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. My mother couldn’t believe it. She stood at the kitchen table in disbelief and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to get all B’s. And that was Betances’ performance; the strikeouts were his good grades and the home run, single, walk and stolen bases were his failing grades.
Essentially, the Yankees need Betances to do his homework and he needs to get more good grades than bad grades. He needs to work on his mechanics and for the love of God, he needs to work on pitching from the stretch or guys will be stealing bases on him all the time.
Hopefully, pitching coach Larry Rothschild will provide Betances with some extra help and he’ll be back on the honor roll in no time.
Photo Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports