Betances trying to re-establish command
With 11 walks in September, Yanks reliever points to mechanics as Girardi wonders about fatigue
NEW YORK -- Dellin Betances believes that he knows why his control has been erratic this month. The Yankees reliever now must figure out how to fix it before taking on a postseason assignment.
Betances' seventh-inning walk to Trayce Thompson forced home a run in the Yankees' 3-2 victory over the White Sox on Thursday night, and it marked the right-hander's 10th free pass in a span of 32 batters. His 11 walks in September are already a career high for a single month.
"I just feel like my timing's off, my mechanics," Betances said. "I feel like I'm breaking my hands a little late. I've just got to work on it in practice. Obviously it's frustrating, but I'm limiting the damage. But I can't keep doing it."
Betances wriggled out of the jam by striking out Adam LaRoche to leave the bases loaded, then pitched around a single in a scoreless eighth to get the ball to closer Andrew Miller. Betances has already pitched 78 2/3 innings in 69 appearances, and manager Joe Girardi said that he wonders if the issue is related to fatigue.
"Of course," Girardi said. "If you're in the bullpen the whole year and you're an eighth-inning guy or a ninth-inning guy, there's probably going to be some fatigue all around the league."
Betances, who is 6-3 with a 1.37 ERA and 124 strikeouts, discounts the fatigue question. He said that he feels fine but needs to focus more on the mechanical aspects of his delivery.
"I'm just trying to bring my hands early, trying to stay back, break my hands and make sure everything is right when I land," Betances said. "When I'm out there, I think I'm going too quick, so I've just got to kind of control myself."
This isn't exactly a new development in Betances' career, and he said that he has been reminded about the issue often by pitching coach Larry Rothschild and bullpen coach Gary Tuck.
Coming up as a starter in the Yankees' Minor League system, Betances struggled with his command before putting it together in the Majors as a reliever, earning consecutive All-Star selections in 2014 and '15.
"When you're six [foot] eight, and you're not throwing strikes, it's going to be a little bit of a mechanical issue," Girardi said. "But when he has to make the pitches, he's made the pitches. That's the bottom line. All pitchers can get a little out of whack; a starter, a reliever. It's all possible for anyone. I still feel really good when he goes out there."