Betances picked up his 131st and 132nd strikeouts of the season on Tuesday night in a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, breaking Rivera's team record of 130 strikeouts as a reliever. While Rivera needed 107⅔ innings reach his mark, Betances has pitched 87⅔.
"Just to be mentioned around his name, you are talking about the best closer, the best reliever in the game," said the 6-foot-8 Betances, who grew up in New York, sitting in the stands as a Bleacher Creature. "Just to be in the same breath as him, you know I take thrill in that. As far as innings, he did it with one pitch so I think that is more amazing."
Betances, 26, has struck out more than 50 percent of his batters (132 strikeouts in 263 outs).
"He's been awesome for us all year," Derek Jeter said. "It seemed like Mo pitched two innings every time toward the middle to end in '96. Dellin has been doing the same thing. He has pitched a lot of innings. The thing with him is that anytime he gets guys on base he's capable of getting out of trouble because he can strike guys out."
Betances, who was a top minor league prospect, struggled as a starter to the point he looked like he might never become a steady major league pitcher.
He entered spring training fighting to just make the team. He began the regular season without a defined role. Now, he is the main setup man and very well could be the future closer.
"I'm just honored and thrilled, " Betances said. "I'm kind of speechless. It is incredible everything that has happened to me, to be here in this situation, to be a part of history, I could not be more thankful."