ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The safety nets Dellin Betances worked above are all gone.
David Robertson left two years ago for the White Sox. Andrew Miller arrived last year and worked behind Betances. Miller started this season as the closer until Aroldis Chapman’s suspension was over. When that happened, Miller went to the eighth and Betances had a double-bagger safety net.
Now, it’s on Betances to prove he can handle the pressure of the ninth that is nothing like what surfaces in the eighth and seventh — even for guys who have the ability to make the best hitters in the game look ill with a high-octane fastball and bowel-locking breaking stuff.
“Obviously for me it’s a different role but I have to go out there and believe in myself and trust myself and try to get the job done,’’ said Betances, who was down about losing Chapman on Monday and as solemn when Miller walked out the door Sunday, traded to the Indians. “I did it a little bit last year so that kind of helps.’’
Betances took over the closer role when Miller was on the disabled list with a left forearm muscle problem last year and went 5-for-6 in save chances.
Elite closers possess strikeout ability, and Betances, an All-Star in 2014, 2015 and 2016, certainly has that. In 50 ¹/₃ innings Betances has fanned 89, walked 15 and allowed 35 hits.
The Yankees have been in good hands at closer since 1996, when John Wetteland helped them win the World Series. From 1997-2013 it was Mariano Rivera except for 2012, when he suffered a knee injury, and Rafael Soriano filled in. Robertson took over in 2014. Then it was Chapman and Miller.
Yet, Betances wasn’t ready to discard the hurt of losing a friend to talk about his new job.
“We lost a true leader and a good friend for me, somebody we all kind of leaned on,’’ Betances said. “He helped us the last couple of years. He has been the best relief pitcher in baseball and that is tough. This is new to me, obviously, but it’s tough when you see good friends go.’’
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.
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