Girardi encouraged by Betances' form

September 27th, 2017

NEW YORK -- has been one of the most dominant relievers in the American League over the past few seasons, selected to four consecutive All-Star teams, and the right-hander is showing signs of getting his performance back on track as the Yankees prepare for the postseason.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that while Betances' playoff role has not yet been determined, the team has been encouraged by his recent work. Betances hurled scoreless innings in Sunday's 9-5 loss at Toronto, Tuesday's 6-1 win over the Rays, and again in Wednesday's 6-1 win over Tampa Bay.

"His last couple of outings have been pretty good," Girardi said prior to Wednesday's game. "For him, his issues have been walks. He's thrown the ball much better. He'll continue. I do feel better."

The outings represented a bounce back after Betances had a disastrous eighth-inning performance against the Twins on Sept. 18. Betances hit the leadoff batter, issued two walks and threw a wild pitch before bailed Betances out with a five-out save, preserving a 2-1 Yankees win.

"I've just got to be able to go out there, keep my concentration and make sure I repeat my delivery," Betances said. "That's what has been costing me this year. I've been inconsistent repeating my delivery and you can't put free guys on all the time. It's going to cost you. It's cost me a bunch of times this year."

Girardi said that he believes Betances' issues have been related to his mechanics.

"I think when he gets out of whack, it's obviously mechanical," Girardi said. "When he's throwing balls, it's just mechanical. And it just looks like he's more under control [now]."

Betances has a 2.87 ERA in 65 appearances, striking out 100 men in 59 2/3 innings for a 15.08 strikeouts-per-nine-innings mark that ranks second among big league relievers. He is one of four AL relievers ever to record 100 or more strikeouts in at least three straight seasons.

September started out rough, though, as Betances entered play Wednesday having permitted six runs in 8 2/3 innings over 10 outings (6.23 ERA). He had issued more walks (six) than hits (five), but rejected a suggestion that it could be related to his workload or fatigue.

"This year, I feel like I haven't really pitched as much as previous years," Betances said. "I don't really look at the numbers like that. I haven't really pitched as much as I have in the past. I've thrown a lot of pitches this year because I've walked a lot of guys, but I feel good."