May 12, 2009; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitch Matt Belisle (34) delivers a pitch in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Coors Field. The Rockies beat the Astros 12-1. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

The Bullpen Butterfly Effect


The back end of the Rockies bullpen this year will feature some familiar players in new roles. With the trade of Huston Street to the Padres Rafael Betancourt will move into the closer role and Matt Belisle will probably be handed the eighth inning role. Betancourt did well in his two month audition as a closer, only blowing one out of his nine save opportunities, giving up a solo home run to James Loney for his only blown save, but whether or not he can hold that role of a whole season remains to be seen. Betancourt excelled in his role as the guy that came in and nailed down the eighth inning for the past two plus seasons, but has struggled in the past when asked to close out games. Early indications point to Matt Belisle taking the set up job, but over the last two seasons he has struggled in the eighth inning. In 2011 Belisle pitched 30 times in the eighth inning with an ERA of 4.03 giving up 3 of his 5 total home runs, while in the seventh inning he pitched 34 times with an ERA of 0.99. His numbers in 2010 are very similar with an ERA of 4.13 in the eighth, compared to 1.52 in seventh with just under 90 outs recorded for both. The variable in all this is Rex Brothers and how Jim Tracy chooses to use him. Brothers has closer stuff, but he has less than 150 professional innings and only 8 pro saves, and moving him into either the set-up or closer role will give Jim Tracy one less lefty to use in handedness match-ups. Ideally I would like to see Brothers pitch well enough to be given a chance to close, moving Betancourt and Belisle back to the roles they have filled for the past two seasons.

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