By any objective measure, Joe Girardi has lost a degree of confidence in Dellin Betances, once a go-to late-inning reliever for the Yankees’ manager.
But Girardi insisted that isn’t the case.
“For us to win, I’m going to say it again, he’s going to play an important role,” Girardi said early Sunday afternoon at the Stadium.
The righthander last appeared in Game 4 of the ALDS against the Indians. Betances walked the first two batters he faced and Girardi nearly sprinted to the mound to take him out, replacing him with Tommy Kahnle.
Betances did strike out the side in Game 1 of that series, a 4-0 loss, and after throwing two scoreless innings in Game 2, he took the loss when he allowed a run in his third inning. The Yankees fell in 13 innings, 9-8.
“The first night he threw really well, the second night he threw really well,” Girardi said. “He struggled a little bit here the last outing. I mean, he’s been through that before and bounced back, so his name’s going to be called upon.’’
Kahnle racks up the Ks
Girardi clearly has no reservations when it comes to Kahnle. The righthander, acquired along with David Robertson and Todd Frazier from the White Sox before the trade deadline, pitched two scoreless innings in Saturday’s 2-1 loss. Kahnle hasn’t allowed a run or a hit in seven innings this postseason. He has walked one and struck out seven.
“He’s been crucial to our success up until this point,” Girardi said. “Yesterday we didn’t have [Chad] Green, so Tommy kind of picked us up in that spot and did a tremendous job. Didn’t throw a ton of pitches and again should be available tomorrow.’’
Speaking of strikeouts
The Yankees struck out 27 times in 63 at-bats in the first two games of the ALCS after striking out 64 times in 174 at-bats against the Indians in the ALDS.
“Strikeouts are tough,” Frazier said. “You want to put the ball in play. You tip your cap to these guys [pitchers], but if we put the ball in play more, good things are definitely going to happen.”