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Yankees offensive woes continue as they drop second straight game 4-0

The day did not start off well for Sonny Gray, as a leadoff single from Kevin Kiermaier started his outing. Then, DH Jake Bowers laced a double down the left field line, scoring the Rays center fielder. In the bottom of the 2nd, CJ Cron hit another double, breaking an 0-16 slump. Then, Daniel Robertson doubled him home. After a Mallex Smith sacrifice bunt moved Robertson to third, Willy Adames hit a grounder through the left side for another base hit to make it 3-0. Meanwhile, the Yankees wasted a pair of leadoff doubles off of Rays starter Wilmer Font in their first two innings at the plate. Giancarlo Stanton laced one down the right-field line, but was stranded, and Austin Romine smoked a ball off the wall in center before also being left on base.

Team president Randy Levine retracts offseason comments, expresses confidence in Dellin Betances as closer

The idea of Betances as a closer is a touchy subject. Yankees team president Randy Levine was critical of the star setup man and his agent after for what he described as a “half-baked attempt” to inflate the player’s value before the season. Betances, a three-time All-Star, lost a case for a $5 million arbitration deal and was instead awarded $3 million but the criticism didn’t end there.
Photo via Sports Illustrated 

“It’s like me saying, ‘I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut,’” said Levine. “No I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer.”

His tone quickly changed after the injury to current closer Aroldis Chapman. In an interview with FanSportsRag.com, Levine spoke with praises about Betances’ ability to be a closer despite his previous comments.

“He’s going to do a great job,” said Levine. “He’s ready. I have full confidence he’ll do a great job.”
Photo Credit: Noah K. Clement | USA TODAY Sports
Much of Levine’s turnaround can be attributed to off-season posturing. Many times both players and team officials say things that they will walk back in the heat of the season. Especially when said player becomes necessary for the role they may not have been initially intended for. Keeping his new closer happy until Chapman returns has to be seen as a top priority.

“I’m not worried about Randy Levine,” said Betances. “Obviously, people think about that from a couple of months ago. For me, I’m focused on the team and I’m just trying to help these guys win.”

Betances has been lights-out this season, pitching in 12 innings to an 0.75 ERA. Of course, that is in the set-up position and not the closer which Betances hasn’t been as effective in previously. Still, the Yankees feel he is a better option with Tyler Clippard filling in the role of set-up.

“You could argue, the last two years, he’s been the best reliever in the game,” said manager Joe Girardi. “You can put his numbers up against anyone. So I don’t see why it won’t translate to the closer’s role.”

Article by: Anthony Merced