Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
The Yankees and Red Sox played an early-season classic of a series this week, hinting at a thrilling summer to come in the American League East. It ended with a piece of intrigue to chew on: Was Aaron Boone wrong to send Dellin Betances out for a second inning of relief on Thursday night?
Betances has quietly become more reliable of late, but his initial assignment in this game served as a reminder of his reduced role. Boone summoned the onetime setup man in the seventh, with the Yanks trailing, 4-0. Betances pitched a perfect frame, then watched his offense erase the deficit by scoring four runs in the bottom of the frame.
There came the controversial moment.
Boone is missing Tommy Kahnle and Adam Warren, and -- this is important -- he didn't have Chad Green, who had pitched on two consecutive nights. When David Robertson warmed up in the bottom of the ninth, it suggested that Boone didn't have Aroldis Chapman, either, who'd also thrown in Games 1 and 2 of the series.
"It wasn't ideal tonight in that we were short in the bullpen a little bit," Boone said. "He wouldn't have gone back out there had we not tied it. I think he's in a good place and I think he's an important part of our team that no I have no issues with that."
He's right that Betances is generally in a better place of late, though hardly back to his old self. But he looked great on Thursday, retiring six of the seven batters he faced. J.D. Martinez's game-deciding home run was a dinky little Yankee Stadium shot. In nearly any other ballpark, Betances would have thrown two perfect innings.
On the other hand: Betances has allowed at least one run in each of his three multi-inning appearances this year. Chapman should be able to throw in three games in a row sometimes, right? And Boone could have used Robertson in the eighth after tying the game, and worried about the rest of the game as it happened.
On balance, it's hard to kill Boone for the decision, given all the surrounding circumstances. Even if it was a mild managerial gaffe, it was one backed by reason, and one that only barely backfired.