By Dan Martin
Any hope of fixing Dellin Betances this postseason was probably gone even before Monday night, but another wild outing all but ensured the right-hander won’t see another important inning this October.
Betances entered Monday’s 8-1 win over the Astrosto start the top of the ninth and immediately struggled with his control again.
For a second straight outing, he failed to record an out and had to be rescued by Tommy Kahnle.
Fortunately for the Yankees on Monday, they had a healthy lead during Betances’ latest implosion, but his inability to get through the inning forced Joe Girardi to go to one of the important parts of his relief corps — and warm up Aroldis Chapman — on a night he clearly hoped to avoid doing so.
“It’s a matter of me getting more work, but that’s hard now,” Betances said. “In the playoffs, you’re gonna rely on the arms that have been hot. Joe’s given me some of these situations to correct myself and I’ve put my teammates in bad spots.”
Betances hadn’t pitched since Game 4 of the ALDS, when he also didn’t get an out in the eighth inning of a 7-3 win. Kahnle came into that game and got the final six outs.
“He’s out of whack,” Girardi said. “He’s [gone] through it a couple of times this year and we’ve seemingly been able to get him on track a number of different times. And we’re still trying to do that. Because I still think he’s really important to us and we need him.’’
On Monday, Betances walked Marwin Gonzalez on four pitches to open the ninth.
After a visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Betances lost pinch hitter Derek Fisher on a full count to end his night.
Betances exited to a chorus of boos from the Yankee Stadium crowd for a second straight appearance.
“I don’t blame the fans,” Betances said. “I’m not doing my job. As a fan, you want the game to be over right there. You don’t want to watch a guy walk the first two.”
He believes things are only slightly off, but remains aware he might not have the opportunity to right himself.
“Physically, I feel fine,’’ Betances said. “I’m keeping my head up high.”
Kahnle entered and gave up a single to Cameron Maybin to load the bases and then struck out George Springer for the first out of the inning. Kahnle followed with a walk to Alex Bregman to force in a run — charged to Betances — as Chapman began to loosen with Jose Altuve coming to the plate.
Kahnle got Altuve to ground into a game-ending double play to get Betances off the hook and keep Chapman from having to pitch.
Adam Warren, who had also slipped into the team’s witness protection program, had a better night.
Warren came in and pitched two scoreless innings after CC Sabathia’s six shutout frames in his first appearance since giving up a run in a loss to the Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Prior to that outing, Warren had pitched just once since Sept. 1; he missed much of the month with back spasms.
So while Warren may have taken a step toward redemption, Betances is even deeper into his morass.
“The good thing is we’re winning games,” Betances said. “I’ve had a lot of success in this game and I know I can get back to that and be the pitcher I know I can be.”