NEW YORK – Dellin Betances is still upset with Joe Girardi’s unexpected quick hook.
The Yankees had a pair of pouting pitchers during Wednesday’s win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Jaime Garcia had a two-run lead when the manager pulled his starting pitcher after 4 2/3 innings, depriving Garcia of what would have been his first win in six starts with New York.
New York still led 3-1 when Betances allowed Evan Longoria’s one-out single in the eighth and struck out Logan Morrison. Girardi decided he wanted Aroldis Chapman to face Steven Souza Jr.
Betances left the clubhouse without speaking with reporters. A day later, he said he figured he would remain in to face Souza, a right-handed hitter.
“I was shocked. I was surprised,” the 29-year-old right-hander said. “I think a lot of people were surprised.”
Souza is 3 for 9 with a home run against Betances and Souza is 0 for 3 versus the left-handed Chapman.
Chapman walked Souza, gave up an RBI single to Adeiny Hechavarria that put runners at the corners, then struck out pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos. Chapman walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth, then struck out three in a row to save a 3-2 victory.
“I just felt like I didn’t really put myself in harms way,” Betances said. “A lot of times I do, but right there I just gave up one hit to Longoria. That’s all I really did.”
While Girardi spoke with Garcia in the dugout following the fifth inning, he had not yet discussed the matter with Betances.
“I don’t know if there’s an explanation that I’m going to take,” Betances said.
Betances mentioned more than half a dozen times during a 4-minute media session that the decision wasn’t his. He repeatedly said he respected the manager, adding: “We won the game. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.”
Girardi defended his decision
“I have to do what my gut tells me. That’s what I’m paid to do,” he said. “I really believe in Dellin. He’s been my eighth-inning guy. He’s been my closer this year. … This is about winning games. And it’s not April, May, June and July. I’m going to have to make some other tough decisions as we move forward.”
He said he was pleased Betances was not sure he would accept any explanation.
“That’s great for me, because that means he really believes in his stuff, and that’s what I want,” Girardi said.
Girardi removed CC Sabathia with a 5-1 lead after 4 1/3 innings on Monday when Longoria came to the plate with two on.
In an era where players’ facial expressions are televised in close-ups, unhappy reactions to decisions are known immediately.
“The hard part is that everyone always wants to talk about it, and every expression is caught on camera and everything is social media today and things can get blown out of proportion,” Girardi said. “I don’t want my players to be happy. I want them to be competitors. That’s what makes them great. So I don’t have a problem. And as I told Jaime Garcia, ‘I’m OK if you’re mad at me.'”