NEW YORK — Zach Britton has played eight major-league seasons. He was a failed started and an elite closer.
This is the lowest he’s felt, though.
“It’s about as frustrated as I’ve been throughout my career, right now,” he said after a 5-3 win over the Rangers at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
Britton didn’t do much to help the victory.
He put it in peril.
Britton inherited a 3-1 seventh-inning lead and coughed up two runs. If not for rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar’s two-run blast in the inning’s bottom half, Britton might have had a rougher night.
The left-hander now has an ugly 7.11 ERA in seven games since joining the Yankees in a trade with the Orioles that was expected to boost manager Aaron Boone’s relief corps, which have underwhelmed as a whole since the July 31 trade deadline.
“At the end of the day it’s just about me commanding the pitches and find a way to consistently command my sinker, and once I get to that point, the performance is going to be a lot better,” he said. “Right now, it’s self-inflicted. All the bad outings I’ve had here have been self-inflicted, of me not throwing enough strikes to where guys respect it and they sit up there and make me throw three strikes and I’m not able to do it right now. So I’ve got to find a way to do that.”
Britton got two outs before surrendering two hits right away. After walking the bases loaded, he fell behind Adrian Beltre, 3-0, before getting two called strikes to fill the count. But his sixth pitch, a 94-mph fastball, missed inside and Choo scored to bring Texas within run.
Dellin Betances came in for Britton afterward and balked, scoring the other run and tying the game at 3-all.
Boone was optimistic.
“It’s a different team,” he said. “It’s not where he’s been his entire career. I think part of it is the uniqueness of the entire situation as far as coming back from the injury, not having spring training, now switching teams at the deadline. Still kind of finding his way a little bit. I thought in a lot of ways it was real close to being classic Britton. And I think the good things we’re seeing is the stuff is there, the arm strength is there.”