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What a Confident Betances Could Mean for the Yankees

On Wednesday the Yankees were in a tough spot. The Bombers were narrowly ahead of the Oakland Athletics, leading 2-0 in the fifth inning of the American League Wildcard game. Surprising to many, the Yankees starter Luis Severino was sent out to pitch the start of the fifth by skipper Aaron Boone. Severino had yet to give up a hit, but seemed to have exerted all his energy on an inning ending strikout of A’s Marcus Semien to escape a bases loaded jam in the fourth.

The fifth inning began with back-to-back singles from Oakland and Boone was forced to pull the 24 year old from the game. Boone turned to reliever Dellin Betances to try and escape the first and second no out situation. Betances has been known for his struggles to hold runners on base. It was a head turning decision for Yankee fans.

New York’s manager could have handed the ball to a variety of relievers. Chad Green was expected to be the first reliever out of the pen for the Yanks. David Robertson is known to escape jams unscathed, often refereed to as a Houdini act.

An inning that began with doubt of Boone’s decision could not have gone any better. Betances came into the fire extinguishing role and did just that. The 6 foot 7 right hander retired Oakland’s Matt Chapman on a liner to right field and Jed Lowrie on a flyout to center. Betances then struck out the American League leader in Home Runs Khris Davis on a filthy slider.

The Dominican native came out again to pitch the sixth inning. It was another surprise for the Yankee Universe. The M.O. for Betances among Yankee fans is that he cannot be brought in with runners on and cannot pitch for more than one inning of work. In fact, In his first four multi inning appearances this season, Betances struggled mightily allowing 8 earned runs. Since then, Betances has held opponents scoreless in appearances going more than one inning. His success continued on Wednesday night, making Boone look like a genius. Betances retired the Athletics with ease.

The Betances that everybody watched dominate an Oakland lineup which hit 227 homer’s in the regular season is different version then Yankee fans have been accustomed to. Betances began his career with the Yankees with dominant stuff. The four time All-Star was considered to be a top five reliever in all of baseball for his first few years in the Big’s. 2017 was an absolute disaster for Betances, a dumpster fire of a season. The righty could not be trusted on the mound, struggling to find his control and All-Star pitching for from seasons past.

Betances certainly had a bounce back season in 2018. He struggled a bit to begin the season, but has rebounded and reclaimed his nasty strike out stuff. His arm is a valuable weapon out of the bullpen and is a needed one, especially if the Bombers expect to go for its 28th championship this October. Betances was a non-factor last postseason for the Yanks. The addition of another bullpen arm with wipeout stuff adds to an already scary bullpen with so many options for New York.

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