I mentioned this briefly in my game recap on Saturday night, but I wanted to go back and revisit Joe's decision to use Dellin Betances with a 4-run lead in the 8th inning of that game. There were people asking why he would use Betances in that situation and some early chatter of concern on Twitter about Joe overusing him. I honestly almost laughed out loud reading some of the comments. I tweeted this out yesterday morning, but if you're unfortunate enough to not follow me, I'll do it again here. This was Dellin Betances' workload last week:
Monday- Did not pitch (rainout) Tuesday- 0.2 IP, 30 pitches Wednesday- Did not pitch Thursday- 1.0 IP, 13 pitches Friday- Did not pitch Saturday- 1.0 IP, 26 pitches Sunday- Did not pitch (rainout)
3 appearances, 2.2 innings pitched, 69 pitches thrown. Now the rainouts certainly helped limit Betances' usage, but I would be willing to bet that Joe would have given Betances the night off anyway yesterday just in the interest of not using him back-to-back early when he threw 25+ pitches the game before. Either way, Betances would have gotten another day off before going into today's scheduled off-day, which Joe surely knew he had available to rest his bullpen. 5 off-days and 3 days of work. That's not a very strenuous schedule for the first week of the regular season. For the sake of comparison, Betances pitched 4.1 innings in 4 appearances and threw 95 pitches over the first week of last season. None of those appearances were back-to-back either.
The point here is that it is foolish to start getting worked up about Betances' workload and whether he's getting enough rest in the first week of the season. He's had plenty of rest and Joe hasn't been working him too hard. Had Betances not walked the yard and thrown the ball away on Opening Day, he wouldn't have had to throw so many pitches. Joe gave him a day off after that outing and he'll have 2 days off after a 25+ pitch outing on Saturday. He's fine.
And keep in mind that it will become easier for Joe to rest Betances in those 4-run situations when Aroldis Chapman returns. The Yankees have said they plan to mix and match the big 3 to make sure nobody is getting overworked during the regular season and we have to have faith that they will follow through with that plan when it becomes possible to execute it.
But while Chapman is out and the 'pen is a bit shorter, there's nothing wrong with using Betances in a 4-run game to make sure that game ends up a Yankee victory. A 4-run lead against the Tigers is hardly a lock, and a win now is worth the same as any win in the future. Joe hasn't over-used Betances in the first week and he's going to be smart enough to not burn him out in April. If he's not, I think we need a sample size of more than 5 games to show that.