Dellin Betances strikes out six straight Mets in relief

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Dellin Betances just wrapped up one of the most dominant relief outings one can possibly have.

Called on to relieve Chase Whitley in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Mets tonight, Betances got Eric Young, Jr. to ground out to third base to end a scoring threat and stand runners at second and third base. The 6-foot-8 right-hander then struck out the side in the sixth and seventh innings, showing off mid-90s heat on his fastball and a nasty knuckle-curve. Four of them were looking.

Betances was once a part of the “Killer Bs,” a group of highly-touted and hyped starting pitching prospects that also consisted of Manny Banuelos and Andrew Brackman, but he disappointed before moving to the bullpen full-time last year. And boy has he found a home there. The 26-year-old now has a ridiculous 1.61 ERA and 39 K/BB ratio over 22 1/3 innings this season. He’s averaging an eye-popping 15.88 K/9. Quite a weapon for New York’s bullpen.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.