CLEVELAND — About the only good thing to come out of the Yankees’ 4-0 loss to the Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS was struggling reliever Dellin Betances striking out the side in the eighth inning.
“I haven’t felt like that in a while,” Betances said. “My breaking ball was sharp and my fastball was good as well.”
Betances, an All-Star in each of the past four seasons, has gone through bouts of inconsistency with his command, leading Joe Girardi to turn to others in high-leverage situations.
“I’ve been working on my breaking ball a little more,” Betances said. “I’ve felt like it hasn’t been as sharp as I’ve wanted it to be. I haven’t really been getting the bite that I wanted.
“During batting practice (Wednesday), I was pretty much throwing a lot of breaking balls into the bucket, making sure I had a good feel (Thursday). It was a step in the right direction. I just have to be ready whenever I’m called upon and take the same approach I had (Thursday), attacking hitters.”
Added Joe Girardi: “He was really good (Thursday). I said all along we need this guy. We need this guy to come up big.”
Dellin Betances pitched well Thursday night.
(Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jaime Garcia also threw 2.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
It was significant because the Bombers didn’t have David Robertson or Chad Green, who both threw multiple innings in Tuesday’s AL wild-card victory.
Tommy Kahnle also wasn’t used, even though Girardi thought before the game that he might be available. Adam Warren gave up a run on two hits in an inning.
The Yankees manager, however, expects to have all of his relievers except Garcia for Game 2 on Friday afternoon.
The Yankees decided to take 12 pitchers for the ALDS because their key relievers had to work so much in the wild-card game. Jordan Montgomery and Garcia were both on the roster, with Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier coming off.
Hal Steinbrenner said he would have been disappointed if the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs.
(Nam Y. Huh/AP)
Chasen Shreve was also taken off to make room for Game 3 starter Masahiro Tanaka. Girardi said Garcia could be a shorter, mix-and-match pitcher while Montgomery could be a long man.
Chase Headley, who has a .278 career average against Trevor Bauer, moved into the lineup at DH, with Jacoby Ellsbury coming out. The rest of the lineup remained the same, with Headley moving into the No. 8 hole. He went 0-for-2 with a walk.
The manager’s preference clearly seems to be playing Aaron Hicks in center field.
HAL BE OKAY
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner didn’t seem too concerned with Luis Severino’s one-out wild-card outing when he spoke on the “Michael Kay Show” Thursday.
“I feel bad for Sevy. He’s a great pitcher. He’s gonna do great the next time around, without a doubt. That’s a lot when you think about it. It’s a lot of pressure, and a lot of these kids have not experienced something like that before. Overall they handled it well. You never have a doubt about our offense. Three runs is quite doable.”
Yankees vs. Indians 2017 American League Division Series
NOT TOO BOSSY
Steinbrenner would not weigh in on whether general manager Brian Cashman and skipper Joe Girardi will be back in 2018. Both men’s contracts are up after the ‘17 postseason ends.
“We’re going to have all those discussions when the season’s over. I may do things a little bit differently than other companies, even other companies in other sports, in that I tend to not want to deal with that in the middle of a season, when we’re trying to focus on what we’re supposed to be focusing on, which is baseball,” Steinbrenner said on Kay’s show. “It’s not the first time a lot of people are coming up at the same time. We’ll get through it and we’ll figure all that come Nov. 1 or so.”
KLUBER PRAISES JUDGE
Corey Kluber, who will start Game 2 and is likely to win the AL Cy Young award, praised Aaron Judge. The two have no history as of yet.
“I think the year he’s had speaks for itself,” Kluber said. “He’s a great hitter. I haven’t faced him yet, but I don’t think it’s any different from any point in your career when you’re facing somebody for the first time.”
READY FOR ACTION
Girardi said both Sonny Gray and CC Sabathia could be available for a do-or-die Game 5, if needed.
With CHRISTIAN RED