BOSTON - Brian McCann pondered the question, but only for a moment.
What, he was asked, would your strategy as a hitter be if you had to face Dellin Betances?
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Said McCann, "Ask for a pinch hitter."
Red Sox hitters no doubt would agree.
Joe Girardi wanted to stay away from Andrew Miller, 9-for-9 in saves this season, on Saturday to avoid overworking him, so it was left to Betances to close the Yankees' 4-2 win.
Betances came on with one on and two outs in the eighth and struck out Mike Napoli with a 98-mph fastball. He then struck out Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts and Blake Swihart (who ended his major-league debut by watching a back-door breaking ball nip the outside corner) in the ninth. It was Betances' first save of the season and second of his career.
"What did he throw, 14 pitches and struck out four guys? That was dominant," Miller said. "I certainly couldn't have done as well as Dellin did today."
Miller has struck out 21 in 121/3 innings and has not allowed a run. Opposing hitters are 3-for-40 against him.
Betances has 25 strikeouts in 142/3 innings and has allowed one run, which was unearned. Opposing hitters are 6-for-50 against him.
Their totals? They have struck out 46 in 27 innings and opposing hitters are 9-for-90 -- eight of them singles.
"He's the standard," McCann said of Betances. "He's coming in and he pounds the zone and he's got two unbelievable pitches. Nobody wants to face him . . . He hasn't been messing around the last two years. Again, I can't say enough about how good he is."
The 6-8 righthander spent spring training facing questions about diminished velocity and stuff that didn't look quite as crisp as a year ago, when he posted a 1.40 ERA in 70 appearances. But the always amiable Betances maintained that his stuff would come around once the regular season began, and he was right.
"I don't think I've changed anything. I just feel good, I feel comfortable, I feel I'm going out there with a game plan," Betances said. "I was a little out of whack in spring training, but I just try to do some of the same stuff I did last year . . . You have to believe in yourself and believe you can go out there and be better."
It would be difficult for any pitcher to be better than Betances was Saturday.
"He's shown, when he's like that, he's going to be untouchable," Miller said. "He doesn't even have to be at his best to put up zeros at will. That's pretty special as a pitcher. He looks pretty locked in right now."