Rapid Reaction: After yesterday's meltdown, the Yankees cannot trust Dellin Betances

While the 2018 MLB season is still only three days old for the Yankees, there is a major question looming from the bullpen: can they trust Dellin Betances? It does seem somewhat premature to ask the question so early in the season, where most guys are still finding their regular season groove, but with Betances' history, this question needs to be addressed.

Photo Credit: The Canadian Press via AP / Fred Thornhill

Betances left Tampa on a high note this spring showing a lot of promise, but what has come out of his first two appearances is more of his September showing last year than his spring. In his first regular season action, Kevin Pillar sent his first offering of the year six rows deep. While Dellin managed to contain the damage to just that homer, it was not encouraging to see a guy get rocked like that. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild simply chalked it up to being “an ambush” – with Pillar sitting on the fastball. Unfortunately, that was not the only blip that we would see out of him as Saturday brought us a complete meltdown like none other.

After a scoreless seventh inning, Aaron Boone decided to trot out the 6’ 8” righty for one more, perhaps to preserve some of the other bullpen arms (in case of extras) and to give Chapman some additional rest. What transpired was both frustrating and mind-boggling. The inning began with Betances falling behind Yangervis Solarte 2-0, and then Solarte taking the next pitch deep to center to give the Blue Jays the lead. Betances went on to strike out the next batter, but Kevin Pillar got to him again, managing a single. Pillar wasn’t done wreaking havoc, however, as he managed to swipe second and third. With two outs and two strikes on the Blue Jays number nine hitter, Pillar teased Betances from third and eventually broke for home. This caught Dellin completely off guard and seemed to put his brain into a complete pretzel, as he stepped off the rubber and threw the ball completely wide and straight at Gary Sanchez’s feet, allowing Pillar to score. To say that Betances looked silly would be an understatement. 

This brings us to the question; can the Yankees trust him? Personally, I don’t think the Yankees can trust him anymore. While his career body of work speaks to the opposite and is an impressive resume, his stuff of late is not even in the same conversation. His location has been extremely erratic, missing pitches all over the place, not to mention baserunners now feel they have free reign on him. It also appears that he has completely gotten inside his own head, his body language speaks volumes of that. 

Right now, Dellin Betances reminds me of a real-life version of Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn from the movie Major League 2. A movie in which the fireball closer (still closely applies) completely loses himself and his pitching. Now in the movie he does turn it around, so maybe there is still hope. I just don’t see how in a close game situation Aaron Boone can pick up the phone and ask for Betances, especially with so many other competent options out there. I don’t think he should completely abandon him, since its literally coming up on the fourth game of the season, but there is no excuse to put him in a high leverage situation right now until he figures it out. He has shown us before that he can turn the tide, but until he does show more of that promise and upside, we are likely going to see less of the big fella.

Article by: AJ Welch


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