It may seem like a lifetime ago for fans of the New York Yankees, but September 22nd, 2011 is never far from the mind of Yankees’ reliever and possible All-Star, Dellin Betances. That day was his big league debut, and while every player who reaches the show most likely has fond memories of his first time on a major league field, that day is one that Betances would rather forget. Why? His line: He threw 27 pitches in 2/3 of an inning, hit a batter, walked four others, and allowed 2 earned runs to cross the plate. Welcome to the Show kid!
Enter one C.C. Sabathia. At the time, the unquestioned leader and ace of the Yankees’ starting rotation. At the conclusion of that inning, and for multiple times thereafter, Sabathia became a counselor of sorts for the young pitching prospect.
“After that game in 2011 when I first came up, he sat and talked to me,” Betances said before the Yankees’ 6-4 win over the Blue Jays Thursday night at the Stadium to George A. King III of the NY Post.“Ever since then we have exchanged text messages during the winter and [he] has always given me good advice.’’
Sabathia has continued to provide good advice to Betances, who after being converted to a reliever, has become arguably the most dominant bullpen arm in all of baseball. Betances now sports a 4-0 record, with a 1.51 earned run average, and has whiffed 70 hitters in only 41 1/3 innings. He’s held opponents to a .134 batting average against.
“We talk about how to pitch certain guys and he tells me to have confidence,’’ said Betances. “He told me that you need a presence to show [hitters] you belong.’’
If Dellin Betances doesn’t make the American League All-Star team, Boston Red Sox’ manager John Farrell truly doesn’t wish to win the Midsummer Classic. Either way, the Yankees and Sabathia are thankful for the turnaround of a former top prospect, who now puts fear into opposing hitters everywhere.