Zack Britton ‘beyond frustrated’ with recent performances

Zack Britton's blown save on Monday was the latest in a string of poor pitching performances from the lefty.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Zack Britton said he agrees with the assessment of many Yankees fans regarding his performance this season.

“Really just pitching like s–t,’’ Britton told The Post on Tuesday. “I’m beyond frustrated at this point. I’m not getting my body to do what I want it to, like last year and the years before that.”

The trend continued in Monday’s win over the Royals, when Britton couldn’t protect a one-run lead in the ninth in a game the Yankees won in 11 innings.

With Aroldis Chapman on the injured list due to left elbow inflammation, Britton issued a two-out walk to Whit Merrifield, which was followed by a stolen base and a single by Nickey Perez that tied the score.

The left-hander was coming off three straight scoreless outings, but has given up at least a run in eight of his 16 appearances this season, dealing with command issues that might be related to the elbow surgery he underwent in spring training.

Zack Britton says his routine was disrupted by missing spring training.
Getty Images

“There are a lot of reasons,’’ Britton said of his struggles. “Missing spring training was huge.”

He pointed to his last subpar season, which came after he had Achilles surgery during the offseason.

“I had COVID, then elbow surgery,’’ Britton said. “Missing reps in spring leads to an uphill battle. I’m trying to help the team in high leverage [situations]. That’s my job.”

The results have led Britton to second-guess his decision to get bone chips removed from his elbow during the spring.

He now thinks he may have been better off regaining the weight lost during his bout of COVID-19 and trying to pitch through it.

“In hindsight, maybe it was something I could have pitched with and wouldn’t have felt it,’’ Britton said.

Asked if he thought he’d get back to where he’s been, Britton said he was optimistic he would.

“I’m pretty confident I’ll get there this year,’’ Britton said. “It’s gonna be a grind.”

Britton and manager Aaron Boone pointed to his increased velocity in Monday’s outing and both felt his stuff has been getting better.

Through the first months of his comeback, though, Britton said he was “fighting with his delivery. … At some point I’ll feel normal. I thought I’d feel better by now, so I’m a little frustrated.”

The shaky season has come after the Yankees picked up Britton’s $14 million option for 2022 to prevent the left-hander from potentially opting out of his deal following last season.

The decision meant the Yankees decided to keep Britton for two years and $27 million rather than possibly see him walk.

In his last 11 appearances, Britton has allowed eight runs — seven earned — along with eight walks in 10 innings.

Overall, Britton’s walk rate has skyrocketed to a career-high 6.91 per nine innings. And he has stranded a career-worst 59.3 percent of inherited runners. His ground ball rate slipped from 77.2 percent in 2019 to 71.7 a year ago and 68.4 this year.

Though ERA can be deceiving when it comes to relievers, Britton’s has gone from 1.91 in 2019 and 1.89 last year to 5.65 this season.

Zack Britton
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

But the news isn’t all discouraging. According to Fangraphs, Britton has given up more soft contact — and less medium and hard contact — than in previous seasons.

And opposing hitters’ exit velocity is 82.8 mph, Britton’s best since tracking began in 2015.

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Matt Craig

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