Three consecutive flawed outings have risen questions regarding the once invincible New York Yankees setup man.
The notion that Dellin Betances has been dynamite for the New York Yankees cannot be denied. The homegrown superstar has pitched to a 1.66 ERA over the last two-plus seasons with 318 strikeouts in 200 2/3 innings.
His fastball lights up the radar gun, his breaking ball is other worldly, and the correct combination of the two is absolute filth. Betances has been a fixture in what has been a strength of the Yankees for three years.
The fact that he has been so electric results in shock whenever he falters. That very shock has arisen throughout Betances’ last three outings, and has now turned into relative concern.
Betances, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave. Blues, had never allowed one or more runs in three straight appearances heading into this year. This season alone, that has happened to the 28-year-old right-hander twice.
With the exception of his ERA of late, all of the numbers on his line are as outstanding as ever. He has struck out 52 batters over 26 2/3 innings, amounting to an unbelievable 17.5 K/9 rate.
That being said, he has looked a tad bit more hittable than seasons prior which has forced him to work out of numerous jams. Recent jams have resulted in runs, and runs have been at a premium late in games for the Yankees.
Like any other pitcher, it is vital to work ahead in counts. This partcularly applies to someone with the putaway stuff of a Betances. When he is behind in the count this year, opponents hit a much more manageable .258 off him with an on-base percentage of .395. Coming in with his fastball trying to work his way back is not nearly as dazzling as attempting to blow someone away with two strikes.
Falling behind in counts, per Brooks Baseball, can be understood by his higher percentage of balls (36.57%) than strikes (34.86%) with his fastball this year. Numbers put aside, Betances’ pinpoint location has clearly not been as sharp.
There are plenty of factors to consider when you see the already two time all-star’s ERA shoot up from 1.93 to 3.04 in the matter of a week and witness a general instability late in games.
He is currently on pace to come close to or eclipse the number of innings he has thrown in 2014 and 2015, respectively. There can certainly be a level of fatigue involved with the amount that he is run out there in high leverage situations.
The realm of possibility also includes mechanical flaws. Perhaps a slight mishap in mechanics has led to Betances leaking some important pitches over the middle of the plate. In that case, a quick session with Larry Rothschild would do the trick.
A final claim to consider is that fans have just become spoiled with the 6’8″ star. There is a first time for everything. A few rough spells will not kill a season’s output and definitely will not cost the Yankees in the broad scheme of things. After all, Dellin Betances is human. Sometimes he does not pitch like it, but he is.
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All things considered, concern is not a problem, especially with a pitcher of his stature. Regardless of how much the three-headed monster and each of the individuals involved are taken for granted, the New York Yankees need these guys to perform. If the back end of the bullpen starts to falter, the Yanks automatically have a gaping hole in their team.
The organization can only hope that this is a short spell for the right-hander as they can ill-afford to lose the productivity of any of their back-end arms. More importantly, Betances’ health and stability is imperative for the long haul.
Is it okay to hit the panic button? Yes. A brilliant bullpen has defined the New York Yankees, and time will tell whether one of their mainstays is able to get back on track.