On Friday night it was the Mets winning a game via the walk-off but on Saturday the Yankees returned the favor with the help of an ex-teammate.
Dellin Betances entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with the score tied but you could tell from his first pitch the command of his stuff was just not there. He committed the cardinal sin of relief pitching by issuing a free pass to the lead off hitter Clint Frazier and he eventually scored when Betances uncorked a wild pitch to end the game.
In his post-game Zoom press conference Betances admitted that he felt he had no stuff on this day and also admitted this season the lead off walks have been a problem. He is absolutely correct. In fact until recently it was a problem throughout the Met bullpen but the others have rectified that issue and we are still waiting on Betances.
The problem I see is two-fold for him–no control of the fastball and using his other pitches incorrectly. His slider is a real good one when it is dangled in the strike zone and then at the last moment dips out of that zone creating a swing and miss. But his slider these days is getting far too much of the plate making it a very hittable pitch. We saw that in the ninth inning with Jordy Mercer and it has happened far too frequently this year.
His fast ball velocity was also down today but the bigger issue was the pitch had absolutely no late movement and that coupled with his slider issues does not alter the hitter’s eyes within an at bat making it easier for them to do 1 of 2 things: Walk or connect with the ball in a line drive sort of way. That is my read on Betances right now and until he rectifies that issue Luis Rojas simply can not put him in pressure situations.
That does not mean he can’t contribute but it does mean that much like Edwin Diaz, he needs to be put in non-pressure situations until he could find his game. And Diaz is living proof that adhering to the directives of Jeremy Hefner can help you find your game that is MIA (Missing In Action)
I say this because Friday Night I thought we witnessed the most dominating Edwin Diaz performance as a Met. He struck the side earning a save in the Mets come from behind win in the opener of the twin bill and Betances has similar stuff to Diaz. He needs to refine that stuff in the same way by focusing on both his footwork and release point which to my eyes is totally out of sync right now.
Dellin Betances could be a real valuable pitcher in that Met bullpen but he needs to combine his talent with working hard. You need both of those assets to succeed at this level and he has done it earlier in his career. He needs to get into the classroom and focus on his footwork and release point. Once he does that, he could once again become a challenging hurler for Met opponents.