Joe Girardi said he continues to believe in Dellin Betances, but he’s not managing the reliever that way.
Brought on with a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning Friday, Betances, who had not allowed a run or a hit in his previous five appearances but has struggled much of the second half, allowed a leadoff single to Richard Urena and a walk to Teoscar Hernandez. Girardi then called for Aroldis Chapman to face Josh Donaldson. Chapman struck him out on a slider, then retired Jose Bautista on a groundout. He struck out former Yankee Rob Refsnyder swinging at a 101-mph fastball for his 21st save.
For his part, Betances, whom the Yankees are trying to get back on track for October, did not criticize Girardi.
“You put the first two guys on and you have a closer like Chapman, most likely they’re going to put him in,” Betances said. “It’s not my call, but I let the first two guys on. I have to go out there and get outs right away. I have a short leash.”
Up until Friday, Betances felt he had been making progress.
“The last few times, I felt like I was attacking the strike zone,” he said. “Today I fell behind on both guys. Obviously, I want to be better. I have to be better.”
Girardi dropped some hints on what his 25-man wild-card game roster for Tuesday might look like.
“Could we take nine pitchers? Yes. Could we take 10? Yes,” Girardi said. “I do think a one-game series allows you to take more position players. We’re not on final numbers yet. We’ll continue to meet and evaluate. But there’s nothing in stone now.”
Girardi has utilized strikeout machine Chad Green primarily as a multiple-inning reliever in the second half, but that could change in a best-of-five or -seven series.
“He’s a guy you’d think about using multiple times in a series, maybe using him a little bit different,” Girardi said. “Depending on what the situation calls for.”