"I was shocked. I was surprised," Betances said Thursday, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "I think a lot of people were surprised. ... I just felt like I didn't really put myself in harms way. A lot of times I do, but right there I just gave up one hit to [Evan] Longoria. That's all I really did."
With the Yankees holding a 3-1 lead, Betances got Lucas Duda to fly out to center field before allowing a single to Longoria. He then struck out Logan Morrison before Girardi replaced him with Aroldis Chapman.
The 29-year-old has struggled somewhat in 2017. His FIP has climbed over a full run, from 1.78 in 2016 to 3.06, according to Baseball Reference. His 6.67 walks are also second-highest among qualified relievers, per FanGraphs.
Girardi may have been considering three rough outings from Betances earlier in the month as well when he decided to bring on Chapman in the eighth against Tampa Bay.
The right-hander allowed one earned run in his one inning of service in New York's 7-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 4. The next day, Betances blew a save as he surrendered a walk-off two-run homer to Manny Machado. In his subsequent appearance, Betances gave up two inconsequential runs as New York coasted to a 16-7 win over the Texas Rangers on Sept. 10.
Girardi's move Wednesday nearly backfired. Chapman walked Steven Souza Jr. and allowed an RBI single to Adeiny Hechavarria before striking out Wilson Ramos to end the inning.
Chapman walked Curt Casali before getting three straight strikeouts to end the game and register the save.