Seeing Dellin Betances using crutches to get from the dugout to the first-base line for Game 1 introductions on Friday night at Yankee Stadium was only a reminder of what the season could have been for the right-handed reliever.
Betances started the year on the injured list with an impingement in his right shoulder and then developed a lat injury. Finally, on Sept. 15 in Toronto, Betances returned and struck out the two batters he faced.
Suddenly, all the work Betances did to get back to the big leagues appeared to have paid off and he looked ready to give a very deep bullpen more depth. Two days later, however, the Yankees announced Betances had suffered apartial tear of his left Achilles tendon and he was done for the season.
Very popular with his teammates, Betances getting to the baseline was a source of inspiration to fellow reliever Adam Ottavino.
“That fired me up. I loved it. He has been with us the whole year. He hasn’t felt sorry for himself,’’ Ottavino said. “We were excited when he came back that one day and I was extremely devastated after he got hurt.”
Zack Britton was impressed that Betances wanted to be with his teammates.
“It shows the type of guy he is. He has been through a lot this year, obviously a free agent year, so he has been through a lot,’’ said Britton, who required surgery in 2018 after he tore his Achilles tendon working out in the offseason. “So, for him to have a positive mindset and be a good teammate says everything about him.’’
Aaron Judge went 2-for-3 and walked twice in the Yankees’ 8-2 Game 2 victory. He has reached safely in seven of 10 plate appearances in two ALDS games and raised his career postseason on-base percentage to .404.
Edwin Encarnacion started this year’s ALDS with one hit in 21 postseason at-bats (.048) in his previous seven games. In the first two games of this ALDS, he is 4-for-9 with two RBIs.