Betances pitched eight strong innings allowing two hits. His only surrendered run occurred on a solo shot hit by the game's leadoff hitter. Most importantly Betances had more strikeouts than walks last Wednesday, a feat he has not accomplished since his first outing of the season.
"I just went out and threw strikes from the start," Betances said. "I followed it off with offspeed pitches and Cervelli did a good job calling the game. My pitches were hitting the targets."
The 24-year-old had seven strikeouts compared to two walks. Drafted in the eighth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Betances boasts a three-pitch arsenal. The imposing 6-foot-8 right-hander can reach 92-95 MPH on his two-seam and four-seam fastball. His changeup and curveball register between low to mid 80s.
In seven starts this season, Betances is 2-2 with a 5.20 ERA but has 29 walks and 28 strikeouts.
Unlike prior starts, Betances has tried to make more use of the changeup. "In 2010, I used the changeup a good amount and was successful," Betances said, "but last year I got rid of it."
Betances was 8-1 with a 2.11 ERA in 17 starts during the 2010 season in Class-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. He was coming off an elbow injury.
Last season, Betances spent the majority of his time at Trenton compiling a 3.42 ERA and going 4-6. He started four games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and went 0-3 with a 5.14 ERA. On top of that, Betances was a late September call-up to the New York Yankees, pitching 2.2 innings while collecting a 6.75 ERA.
This season Betances has put time into redefining the changeup. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitching coach Scott Aldred altered his grip, giving Betances a better feel on throwing a more effective complement pitch to his signature fastball. He prevented Columbus from getting comfortable at the plate by throwing around 30 changeups to about 55 fastballs.
"I was throwing fastballs for strikes and I kept batters off timing with the changeup," Betances said. "I do like to throw the curveball as a strikeout pitch but I have been throwing more changeups as of late and it was a pitch that was successful."
Aldred agrees Betances needs to continue to throw his changeup if he wants to replicate his most recent outing.
"He did a good job. He is now getting use to it and he didn't use it last year," Aldred said. "It was always a plus pitch and now it is being emphasized."
According to Aldred, Betances' future success relies on attacking the strike zone and keeping his pitch count down.
"He has power and life to all three pitches," Aldred said. "He just needs to improve on his strike percentage with all three pitches. Commanding these pitches will lead to a lower pitch count and going deeper into games."
Betances works each day to perfect his offspeed pitches. His fastball has been his number one pitch for years and the one he has relied on and felt most comfortable throwing. Now, Betances enjoys mixing it up.
"I take what I do in bullpen and do it in the game," he said. "I got to keep working and staying consistent with delivery."
Although excited from his previous start, Betances tries to take it in stride and not be consumed by his performances. He understands he must show consistency in ensuing starts while trying to maintain a healthy pitch count. Doing this may help him receive a call-up back to the majors just as he had received last September.
"This start was definitely a relief," Betances admitted. "It's always good to have a good start but need to focus on the next start. A good pitcher must keep making good starts."
Betances Changing it Up
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