The Yankees suffered perhaps their toughest loss of the season Thursday night, squandering a ninth-inning lead on a walk-off home run by Hanley Ramirez surrendered by Dellin Betances. Betances has been absolutely brilliant this season -- and throughout his Yankees career -- but this recent blip comes at an inopportune time given the extraordinary play that has thrust New York back in the postseason hunt.
Last night's opener would have allowed the Yankees to climb within three games of Boston in the AL East with three games remaining in this series. And Betances' bad outing comes during a September where he has been unusually human, with the right-hander having now allowed runs in three of his last five outings.
But one should definitely use caution trying to make too much of the right-hander's recent struggles, and no one should question whether it has to do with the added pressure of the closer's role. Betances has more than proven he has the stuff and the makeup to thrive as a closer and one expects he'll quickly snap out of this mini-funk. It's worth remembering just how good Betances had been prior to this latest blip. In August, Betances allowed just a single run for the entire month, while striking out 20 and walking only five. That strikeout rate has held fairly steady even amid his September issues.
So, yes, this loss stings, but expect the big right-hander to emerge just as strong and to play a big part in New York's quest for a postseason berth.