When the Yankees usually have a lead late in the game, Joe Girardi doesn’t have to signal for Dellin Betances to start warming up. Betances is usually up in the seventh, preparing for his signature eighth inning of work. And once Betances comes out of the pen, it’s usually ‘Game Over’ for the opposing team.
The Yankees hadn’t seen dominance like this since Mariano Rivera was in their bullpen, and with two All-Star nods in his two full years of MLB service, the Yankees are extremely lucky to have Betances on their squad.
“He can shut down an inning,” Girardi said to the media after yesterday’s 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. “When you have a guy that has the ability to strike people out like that, you can really shut down an inning. You don’t have to rely on a double play or a number of other things that you hope for. He just means a ton to our team.”
The Yankees once envisioned Betances as a starter, but it resulted in a failed experiment. And with Betances out of minor league options, they gave him one last shot to earn a spot on the team–as a reliever. Betances dazzled in Spring Training last season which earned him a spot in the bullpen. And ever since the transition to the pen, Betances had become a different pitcher and a not-so secret weapon for the ball club.
“Out of the bullpen that’s something that I love,” Betances said, “and I love adrenaline — pitching when I’m at home, with the fans and just trying to help the team win no matter the situation.”
Betances is pretty versatile when it comes to pitching out of the pen–not only did he pitch the eighth for the Yankees, he even was the closer for a few months this season when Andrew Miller went on the disabled list. It has been a long journey for Betances, but one thing is certain, he’s definitely found a place where he belongs on the Yankees roster–even if it took a last chance effort to find it.
“It’s so important to us — since he’s emerged the last two years — how important he is to our bullpen,” Girardi said. “He’s able to give you multiple outs. He’s very durable.”