A Rare Betances Failure,
#A-Rod Not Upset about All-Star Snub
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, JULY 8- It has not happened much, a Dellin Betances failure out of the bullpen for the New York Yankees. There has been that invincibility and similarities to Mariano Rivera who rarely came out of the pen and gave up a tying or go ahead run.
But Rivera had his share of bad moments, and those that went on the wrong side were quickly forgiven, and the Yankees and their fans will always remember how Mariano Rivera rebounded the next night. Betances, who has been unstoppable is beginning to understand those moments now that he has given up two home runs out of the pen in his last two games.
The home run Tuesday night in the Bronx was the difference in the Yankees 4-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics in 11-innings. Brett Lawrie, leading off the inning, got hold of an 0-2 breaking ball that went down the left field line and that was the difference.
This is not supposed to happen. Betances was selected to the roster of the American League All-Star team on Monday night, his second straight year representing the Yankees, and has allowed a run in consecutive games for the first time since last July 27th against Toronto and in a game against Texas days after.
And in all due respect, Betances can be called untouchable with an ERA of 1.65, with two blown saves in nine opportunities. There are no excuses, even though Betances has been doing extra work with the absence of Andrew Miller, who is expected to come off the disabled list and be ready for game two against Oakland Wednesday night.
“It doesn’t happen very often but it happened tonight,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s a game where there is a human element involved.” The manager was making no excuses about his stopper who has been pretty much perfect in late situations, and has handled right handed hitters and the 0-2 count with minimal difficulty.
Now with Miller set to return, Betances will in all probability return to his normal eighth inning role and there should be no questions about fatigue and the 43-⅔ innings he has thrown in 38 games, though that was asked because the right-hander has given up home runs in back-to-back appearances for the first time in his career.
“It’s definitely tough when you are ahead in the count,”said Betances about the home run ball. “You have to be able to put guys away and I left that pitch over the plate. He obviously crushed it.”
Girardi will once again mix and match, alternating Miller and Betances in the late innings as situations arise. That was often the case before Miller was put on the DL with a left forearm muscle strain on June 11th.
“It will obviously help,” Girardi said about the return of Miller. And he made no excuses about the home runs balls given up by Betances, except that the past month he has pitched more innings than what was seen in April and May.
Added Girardi, “Obviously we guard against that and we watched how much he worked. But obviously getting Miller back will help.”
THE REASON GIRARDI LIFTED HIS STARTER: Nathan Eovaldi was cruising along in a 3-3 game and Girardi lifted his starter in the sixth inning with one-out and nobody on base. And with a 86 pitch count and overall good control, the question was asked why?
The reason was a matter of percentages and the batter was left handed hitter Josh Reddick who had an RBI single off Eovaldi in the first inning. And Reddick hit the ball well in two previous bats off the right hander…
A-ROD CONTENT WITH NOT BEING AN ALL-STAR: Alex Rodriguez was content at not being selected to the AL All-Star squad, though he expressed his disappointment being bypassed. And there was no nonsense of being bitter, or for that matter he did not mention that it had anything to do with his sitting out all last season because of his suspension from the Biogenisis drug scandal where he was the center of attention.
“I am not disappointed,” he said meeting with reporters in the Yankees clubhouse Tuesday afternoon. “It would have been fun to go out and represent the American League for sure. But I know that while serving the suspension the time off was good for me.”
And when A-Rod said. “I hope the four days will be, too,” it was an obvious reference that the soon to be 40-year old is starting to tire after having a successful and surprising first half of the season and that some rest was needed.
He went 0-for-4 Tuesday night with a strikeout and his walk in the 10th inning became a potential winning run, though he and Brett Gardner were stranded when Mark Teixiera struck out swinging to end the game.
Rodriguez, who can easily be considered a first half AL Comeback Player Of The Year with his 16 home runs, 47 RBI and ..280 average, used mostly as a designated hitter, once again provided the correct answers and swayed away from controversy.
But, deep down there was that overall expression of a definite certainty he belongs on that roster next Tuesday night in Cincinnati.
“My goal early on was to make the team,” he said. “I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know how many at bats I was going to get. I will be watching, I will be cheering and I hope we get home field advantage.”
Rodriguez also said Prince Fielder, who was picked over him was deserving. Though there is a chance if someone gets injured, that he could become a last minute replacement and pick of AL Manager Ned Yost, though chances of that happening are very unlikely.
So throw out a conspiracy that A-Rod was damaged goods when his name was considered for All-Star consideration. He has not said anything wrong since spring training, most of all his stats were credible and deserving enough to be an All Star.
“There are so many great players in the American League and I was a long shot,” he said. And you get the feeling that A-Rod does not mind being bypassed in order to get some extra rest for the second half.
Easy to understand why four days of rest will benefit a player who is hustling on a daily basis with two bad hips. And A-Rod has said all along, the intent is to get to the postseason again, a goal also for the Yankees who have missed the playoffs two straight years.
A healthy and productive Alex Rodriguez makes more sense for the Yankees in their goals for a return to playing baseball in October.
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