Karpin: Dellin Aint Dealin’ So The Yankees Have a Problem

It was “deja’ blew” all over again.

Dellin Betances had his third meltdown in a week and the Yankees suffered another tough loss in what has become the norm lately.

With the Yankees and Blue Jays tied at six in the eighth, the Yankee right hander walked the first three batters to load the bases with nobody out. After getting Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista with a called third strike he walked Russell Martin (who had tied the game with a solo home run in the seventh) to force in the go ahead and eventual winning run in a 7-6 Toronto win. After the walk, Yankee manager Joe Girardi had seen enough and replaced Betances, who left the mound to a chorus of boos.

All the good things that the Yankees did in the early part of the season seem to have evaporated, mainly because of a bullpen that was perceived as a strength going in but has now turned into an albatross.

The Yankees have lost 16 of 22 and have fallen behind the red hot Red Sox who seem to have found their game. Tampa Bay is creeping up from behind as the Yankees limp into the All-Star break after a great start.

Betances is the immediate problem. He’s walked 11 of the last 22 hitters that he’s faced and the Blue Jays literally let him “hang himself” as he “walked the ballpark.” “Right now he’s off mechanically,” Girardi said.

Betances has not thrown his fastball enough lately and he’s fallen in love with the slider. The hitters are laying off that pitch and it has caused him to get behind in the count. His fastball command is non-existent and it’s led to disastrous results. “My stuff is there,” said Betances after the game, “but the timing of my delivery is not there and it’s causing me to fall behind guys and walk them.”

In the fateful eighth inning, Betances walked Miguel Montero on a
3-2 slider to set up the inning. That should’ve been a “red flag” for Girardi because that’s the way the rallies began in the other games where he blew up. (Not a second guess. I thought Girardi should’ve had someone up after Betances issued the first walk of the inning. He waited until the second walk) His final line read 1/3 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 1 K

This all began a week ago in Chicago when Betances walked two and gave up two runs in 2/3 of an inning. Four days later in Houston, Betances was even worse as he walked three and gave up four runs in less than an inning of work. It appeared he was getting it together when he tossed a scoreless inning on Monday but he went backwards again. “It’s frustrating right now,” Betances said. “I feel like I’m not consistent with my mechanics right now. It shows in the walks that I had.”

Girardi is confident they can get things turned around. “The short team I’m concerned about, the long term, I’m not,” said the Yankee manager. “Obviously, he’s (Betances) too good, his track record is too good for this to continue.”

The bullpen wasn’t the only concern. It was like the Michael Pineda invitational as the Blue Jays “teed off” for three home runs off the enigmatic Yankee starter.

The offense, beyond Aaron Judge, has stumbled a bit and with all due respect, that wasn’t exactly “Murderer’s Row” that the Yankees were putting out in the 4-6 slots with Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Gregorius had a big double, but he’s not a #4 hitter and Ellsbury has really hit the skids since he came off the DL (7 for 36, .194)

Judge slammed his 29th home run off of Blue Jays’ starter Marco Estrada to tie Joe DiMaggio’s rookie record. Judge’s pure power was on display for this one, a really high fly ball that just kept carrying over the right center field fence. The Toronto right hander was impressed as he intimated after the game. “He’s a strong kid. Thought he popped it up to be honest with you and it just kept going,” said Estrada.

Judge got a chance to hit with the tying run at first and two out in the ninth but Jays closer Roberto Osuna struck him out on three pitches to end it. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons appreciated the dramatic final at-bat. “Our best against their best and our best won,” Gibbons said after the Jays took two of three in the series.

Osuna relished the challenge of facing Judge with the game on the line. “It’s always good to face one of the best hitters in the league right now,” he said.

So while Osuna recorded his 20th straight save for the Jays, the Yankees need to be “Mr. Fixit” with their bullpen. Aroldis Chapman hasn’t exactly been lights out lately but Betances has been alarmingly bad. Girardi knows what’s at stake. “We’re trying to get him (Betances) right, we’re working at it.” Girardi said. “Just right now, he’s struggling.”

Suffice it to say, the Yankees need to get Betances and the bullpen straightened out in a hurry.

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