New York Post
Hey, it’s not all bad: Betances lights out
CLEVELAND- If the Yankees are lucky, they’ll be able to draw one positive from Thursday’s 4-0 loss to the Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS: Dellin Betances might be right again.
The right-hander battled command issues down the stretch in the regular season, enough so that he didn’t even warm up in Tuesday’s wild-card win over the Twins, when Joe Girardi needed to get 8 2/3 innings out of his bullpen.
On Thursday, Girardi went to Betances in a relatively low-leverage situation, down by four runs in the eighth inning, and Betances looked like his old self again.
He struck out the side on 11 pitches, whiffing Carlos Santana, Austin Jackson and Roberto Perez.
“I haven’t felt like that in a while,” Betances said. “My breaking ball was sharp. My fastball was good, as well. It’s the best I’ve felt in a while.”
It’s been a rough stretch for Betances, who gave up six runs in his final 8 2/3 innings, covering 11 appearances. He also walked seven in that span. And in his last outing, he gave up a hit and a walk before Girardi pulled him without recording an out.
“He was really good,” Girardi said. “I said all along we need this guy. We need this guy to come up big.”
Especially with the bullpen already tested because of the terrible starting pitching in each of the last two games, with Luis Severino recording just one out in Tuesday’s wild-card game and Sonny Gray going 3 ¹/3 on Thursday.
“I knew we had a couple guys down today,” Betances said, adding he had been working on his off-speed pitches between appearances.
“It hasn’t been as sharp as I wanted it to be,’’ Betances said. “I haven’t really been getting that bite I wanted.”
And he didn’t just work on his stuff in the bullpen to get out of his funk.
“In batting practice, I was throwing a bunch of breaking balls back to the bucket, just making sure I’d have a good feel,” Betances said. “Today I did.”
Now, he’ll need to keep that up as the Yankees try to overcome a 1-0 series deficit Friday.
“It’s a step, obviously, in the right direction,” Betances said. “I’ve just got to be ready whenever I’m called upon and have the same approach I had today: attacking the hitters.”
If all goes according to plan, the next time he’s on the mound, the Yankees won’t be down by four runs.
“I don’t think the situation of the game really mattered,” Betances said. “I felt good.”