It was a perfect evening for the Yankees — with Luis Severino returning for the 1st time this season and pitching 4 shutout, 2-hit innings, and the Yankee offense clobbering the Angels 8-0 led by the 38th homerun by Gleyber Torres. Yankee Twitter was happy as heck. And then news broke that Dellin Betances had partially torn his left achilles tendon on the last pitch in his comeback relief appearance Sunday — and was gone for the season. Yankee Twitter turned to disbelief at the devastating news and fragility of the Yankee players this year.
The Yanks could have used Betances — as awesome as he looked to the 2 batters he faced in his first appearance of the season on Sunday. But they have a fantastic bullpen already and now have Severino back. So the news wasn’t devastating for the Yankees — you just hope it isn’t for Betances’ career. In basketball, a torn achilles is the most devastating injury for an NBA player. Kevin Durant tore his achilles this Spring to change the face of basketball. Only one NBA star has successfully come back from an achilles injury — Dominique Wilkins; it’s meant the end of stardom for most NBA players who have suffered it — as players lose their quickness and jumping ability after the achilles injury.
Will it mean the same for a 6’7″ hard-throwing righty relief pitcher who uses his left leg to drive his power but his right leg to come down on, absorbing the power pitches?
Explosive Gastrocnemius Contraction
Zack Britton ruptured his achilles with the Orioles during the off season in December, 2017. In an ESPN article on Britton’s injury, former Red Sox trainer Mike Reinold, now of Champion Physical Therapy and Performance in Waltham, Mass was quoted as saying: “At the time of landing, there is a lot of impact the body has to absorb, and also as you come forward over your front side, you get an explosive gastrocnemius contraction, which pulls up on the Achilles. The tissue has to be able to accept that load again, and in the landing leg at ball release with all that weight and force coming over the front side, that’s a big deal for the tissue.”
Britton suffered a worse tear but he was back pitching with the Orioles by the middle of 2018. It took him a season to regain his effectiveness, which he enjoys today in the Yankee pen.
Betances is also known for his awesome curveball and the injury is listed as a partial tear — no surgery is currently being planned. So this could be a) the end of Betances career, b) the end of his effectiveness as a brilliant relief pitcher, c) no big deal he’ll be back to start next season.
Everyone saw the odd finish to his last pitch on tv — it caught the eye and then Betances started walking off the mound because he apparently felt there were 3 outs, which drew laughter from teammates.
My only guess to when Dellin Betances suffered his Achilles injury is when he thought he had gotten three outs: pic.twitter.com/K8ZwuHiznA
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) September 18, 2019
I also was watching when Mel Stottlemyre blew out his arm in 1974 — the way his arm threw the pitch also caught the eye as odd at the time. Hope this is not deja vu all over again.
Severino started off shaky — centerfielder Brian Goodwin worked a 12-pitch walk to start the game, and David Fletcher hit a 2-strike single to put runners on 1st and 2nd nobody out. But Severino got a comebacker for the 1st out and then this double play to end the inning which was watched at Billy Martin‘s sports bar across the street:
Picture in picture: Billy's Sports Bar in the Bronx goes WILD as Yankees ace Luis Severino works out of a first-inning jam with a double play in his first start since last October pic.twitter.com/R6Rhgn3ceK
— Kyle ⚾️ (@KyleNYY) September 17, 2019
Severino motored from there. He was followed by 2 brilliant innings by Jonathan Loaisiga who got the win, and then shutout innings by Steven Tarpley, Cory Gearrin, and Chance Adams for the combined shutout.
The Yankee Offense
Like the night before, the Yanks scored early and often on the Angels pitchers — opener N Ramirez (who took the loss) and J Suarez. In the 2nd, Gio Urshela singled in a run and Cameron Maybin doubled in another to make it 2-0 NY; in the 4th, DJ LeMahieu singled in a run and Didi Gregorius doubled in two more to make it 5-0. Gleyber Torres followed with his 3-run bomb.
Baby puttin' on for the city.
Baby he the realest. pic.twitter.com/ma7762ixSG
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 18, 2019
The Batting Title Race