Yankees Editorial: Just How Good is Dellin Batances?

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He wasn’t available to pitch in Sunday night’s finale against the Red Sox, but in the first two games of the series he absolutely owned Boston’s hitters. He had his fastball revved up to a devastating 98-mph and his curveball was absolutely falling off the table and into the strike zone consistently. He was so dominate that Mike Lupica took to his prestigious Sunday column in the New York Daily News to express his opinion on Dellin Betances.

"“There he was these last two games at old Fenway, gassing the Boston Red Sox with strike after strike, fastballs and breaking balls knifing away from Red Sox hitters and then more fastballs up in their eyes, and looking for this one weekend as dominating as any Yankee relief pitcher has, and that includes the great [Mariano] Rivera. That is how much game Dellin Betances has shown you in Boston this weekend.”"

Yes, the headline of the weekend was Alex Rodriguez’ pinch-hitting home run no.660 and tying the great ‘Say Hey Kid’ Willie Mays at Fenway Park where his career first began. But it’s the combined effort of Dellin Betances, the kid from Brooklyn, and southpaw Andrew Miller, who are starting to make Yankee fans believe that their bullpen is good enough to carry this team to the promised land in October, similar to the way the Kansas City Royals bullpen did just one year ago.

But let’s single out Dellin Betances. Why is he so dominant? Well according to Lupica;

"“He makes you watch him, usually in the eighth inning, sometime all the way to the end the way it was Saturday when he struck out all four Red Sox batters he faced. He has been so brilliant this season, his stuff has been so filthy, the for the few minutes he gets every time he comes out of the bullpen, he makes you want to watch him the way you want to watch Matt Harvey.”"

As a kid who grew up on the streets of the Bronx, the fact that Betances comes out of Washington Heights, the lower east side and Grand Street Campus School in Brooklyn, NY is just awesome. His rise to the top is as blue-collared a story as it gets in New York. He failed as a starter and battled back from career threatening injuries in his pitching arm, but now he is here, and he’s here to stay.

Betances, currently 3-0 and has pitched 13.1 innings across 12 appearances. He has given up just one unearned run and has recorded 21 strikeouts already. Lupica said it best;

"“He has made the eighth inning for now, for as long as Joe Girardi has the late innings set up this way, into what it once was when Mo Rivera was the set-up guy for John Wetteland.”"

Further, Lupica went on to say that “he [Betances] and Miller have made you think about baseball games, at least for now, just 24 games into the old days, when it was Stanton and Nelson ahead of Mo, once Mo got the ninth inning: If the Yankees have the lead, you believe the thing is over.”

He had all Yankee fans holding their breath on Saturday when he limped off the field, but it turned out he had a minor blister. But he continued to dominate the Red Sox the way he has everyone else before them, in most cases always as the set-up man for Andrew Miller, who has been as dominant as Betances, recording nine saves in as many attempts with 23 strikeouts so far this season.

The two of them combined have given the Yankees the versatility that Brian Cashman hoped they would when he signed Andrew Miller to a four year/$36 MM deal in the off-season.

"“But Betances is the one you don’t want to miss, wherever he pitches, whenever he pitches.” Lupica said. “We don’t get to see him as much as a starter like Harvey. The jobs are completely different. Not the stuff. The tall kid whose trip to Yankees Stadium began in Washington Heights, he’s become their Harvey. Not the Dark Knight. Maybe the Avengers need a late-inning guy.”"

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