26 year-old reliever achieves offseason goal
BOSTON, MA -- Found inside a 6-4 Yankees road win was a superb performance from the bullpen. Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson tossed a combined 4 1/3 innings of two-hit ball, yielding just one run. Inside that? Three triple-digit fastballs from Dellin Betances to Mike Napoli, one clocking a career-high 101 MPH on the Fenway Park radar gun.
"When I get an out, I kind of look back," said Betances. "I saw it and I said 'Oh, wow.'"
It came in the midst of a ten-pitch battle with Mike Napoli, who's made a living off of hitting fastballs out of the ballpark. Just six innings earlier, Napoli was challenged with a Shane Greene heater, which he hit over the Green Monster seats in left and on to Lansdowne Street.
"I just felt the balls coming out better," he said. "It's just one of those situations where he was fouling stuff off, and he was kind of late. I took a glance, and the guys told me as soon as I got to the dugout."
The excitement was felt in the bullpen too.
"How could you not have fun watching that?" said a smiling David Robertson. "He threw 101 today. I mean...Wow! I'm lucky if I hit 93 and he's pumping it 101."
Hitting triple-digits was a large accomplishment in its own right for Betances, who said postgame he set the mark as a goal in the offseason. He mentioned he had hit 99 mph a season ago, and wanted to rear back and get an extra MPH out. The atmosphere helped.
"I like Boston," Betances explained. "Every time I pitch here for some reason, a division rival, Boston's always sold out, they're always in it, and it's close." He credited that extra juice as the main cause for his surge in velocity, though he had three days off which didn't hurt.
Another factor may have been some playful prodding.
"Guys always talk trash to me, because last year I wasn't able to get there," Betances said. "Michael Pineda was one of the guys because he threw 100 with Seattle. Last year he saw me pitch and he was like 'You're close to that mark.'"
In the process, Betances moved to nine innings pitched in his career against Boston, in which he's allowed just three hits and a run, striking out 12. The All-Star now owns a 1.52 ERA on the year, striking out over 13 batters per nine innings.