Why the Mets need to hope for a strong start from Dellin Betances

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after closing out the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium on October 03, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after closing out the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium on October 03, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New York Mets fans need to hope for a strong start from Dellin Betances in 2020. If his career splits tell us anything, it suggests he may have a rough conclusion to the season.

There’s no doubt Dellin Betances should make the New York Mets bullpen are better in 2020 than it was in 2019. It’s not exactly hard to do. The Mets had one of the worst relief corps in Major League Baseball this past year.

Something the Mets really need from Betances is a strong start right out of the gate. This would boost his confidence coming back from an injury, put the team in a better position in the first month of the season, and give the fans another arm to get excited about.

Yet another reason why we should hope for a hot start is how Betances has performed throughout his career month-to-month.

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When he begins his tenure with the Mets, Betances will own a lifetime 2.36 ERA. He has actually posted an ERA below this total in each month of his career except for two.

In June, Betances owns a 2.45 ERA which is barely above his career average. It’s his poor performances in September and regular season October which could be some cause for concern.

Betances is 0-6 with a 4.06 ERA in the final month(s) of the season. It’s tied for his lowest strikeout rate at a still respectable 13.8 per nine but comes with a dastardly 1.47 WHIP. Perhaps due to some overuse in the earlier months, Betances has crashed down the stretch enough to raise a flag.

A 4.06 ERA isn’t something to sweat all that much but it is notable considering the quality of pitcher he is. Betances has a 1.49 ERA in May and ERAs ranging between 2.03-2.09 in March/April, July, and August. It’s only those final weeks of the regular season that have gotten the best of him.

A lot of these struggles occurred back in 2016 when he became the New York Yankees closer following the Aroldis Chapman trade to the Chicago Cubs. In 9.1 innings of work, Betances surrendered 10 earned runs. This gave him an ERA of 9.64 for the month. He was pretty bad in 2017 as well, giving up six earned runs in 9.2 innings for a 5.59 ERA.

It’s not a guarantee we will see Betances suffer through a bad final month of the year with the Mets. He has had much better conclusions to the year. The thing about relief pitchers is that one stretch can drastically pull their ERA in one direction.

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This is even truer for the negative. One grand slam can completely alter the way we perceive a reliever’s numbers. The rough thing about Betances’ career is that he’s more prone to giving up the big hit late in the year than early. Let’s just hope the Mets clinch the National League East early, for sanity’s sake.