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Dellin Betances has a chance to silence his critics

“$5 million goes to elite closers. Pitchers who pitch the ninth inning and have a lot of saves. Dellin didn’t have that record. He never did. It’s like me saying, I’m not the president of the Yankees, I’m an astronaut. I’m not an astronaut and Dellin Betances is not a closer.”

Remember that? That little squabble between Dellin Betances and the Yankees during his arbitration hearing way back in February? Well, it’s May 16. Randy Levine still isn’t an astronaut, but Betances is now a closer, and will be for at least a month while Aroldis Chapman is sidelined with an injury.

Don’t think the irony of the situation is lost on Betances. He can say all the right things, he can answer all the questions thrown his way, but you can bet the house a little light bulb went on in his head when Chapman was placed on the DL.

This is Betances’ chance to literally put his money where his mouth is and prove his worth to the franchise to silence his critics. If he had a chip on his shoulder before, it’s a boulder now.

Today, Levine walked back on those comments he made three months ago, saying that Betances is “Going to do great. He’s ready. I have full confidence he’ll do a great job.”

Man, I wish I could’ve seen Dellin’s reaction when he read those quotes.

Betances hasn’t exactly thrived as a closer. But perhaps that was due to the fact that he had logged so many innings leading up to the final two months last year when he pitched to a 4.37 ERA over 23 games and converted 12 of 16 save opportunities. He’s fresh now, however, and has a microscopic 0.75 ERA over 12 frames with 22 strikeouts.

So it will be interesting to see how Betances handles the ninth inning for the next month. We know one thing, though. He’ll certainly be motivated.

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