With the American League Wild Card on the line, the Tampa Bay Rays will face a rookie making his first major-league start on the final day of the regular season. Indeed, the New York Yankees will start 23-year-old right-hander Dellin Betances on Wednesday night, which could give the Wild Card edge to the Rays, who are tied with the Boston Red Sox for the AL's final playoff spot.
Wednesday night will mark Betances' second major-league appearance. In his debut, also against the Rays, Betances yielded two runs in two-thirds of an inning by walking four batters and hitting another as Tampa Bay cruised to a 15-8 victory.
In July, SB Nation's John Sickels named Betances among the top two pitchers in New York's farm system. Here's part of Sickels' Dellin Betances scouting report:
Betances has intimidating size and the velocity to match, working between 92 and 98 MPH and consistently hitting 94-95. He maintains his velocity through games and the fastball has excellent sinking action, which shows up statistically in low home run rates throughout his career. He mixes in a cutter, but his key secondary pitch is a knee-buckling knuckle-curveball, a true plus pitch although his command of it is not always consistent.
Sickels says Betances' "command and control" are issues for the youngster, which the Rays learned the first time they faced him. Cork Gaines helpfully points out that three Rays players faced Betances in Triple-A action this season.
Betances may not see much work Wednesday evening, as Yankees manager Joe Girardi plans to use his playoff bullpen--including Phil Hughes, a regular-season starter--extensively.
David Price takes the hill for the Rays. First pitch is slated for 7:10 PM. Sun Sports and ESPN have the telecast, while WDAE 620 AM and WGES 680 AM have the radio broadcasts.