Closer Rafael Betancourt is one of the few bright spots this season. It is not just what he has done this year, but also his progression with the franchise and how he has grown into his role. When the Rockies have handed him save opportunities, it has been refreshing to know that the team actually has an excellent chance to win.
That does not mean Betancourt has been perfect, and he has struggled the last two nights. In what was eventually a 7-5 victory on Monday night, he blew a one-run lead when he surrendered a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt. Last night, after putting two men on base with another one-run lead, he surrendered a walk-off dinger to Aaron Hill.
If it is true that timing is everything, then Betancourt benefits from good timing.
For one thing, it feels like Rockies fans are pretty numb to the ineptitude of this season at this point. It might also be different if they had not ultimately won on Monday to bail out Betancourt; Hill’s home run would have stung that much more if it kept the possibility alive that they would lose 100 games going into today’s finale.
The other factor that benefits Betancourt is the fact that there are a number of other story lines as the character of this offseason takes shape. Going into this final series, we finally got confirmation that superstar Troy Tulowitzki indeed will not play again this season, which is a massive disappointment if you think back to how long he has been out. In the meantime, Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa were both trying to leave a good impression going into the offseason and assistant GM Bill Geivett gave a baffling two-part interview on a national web site. In other words, there was a lot to distract from one player’s struggles in a meaningless series.
Two blown saves always hurt, but lucky for Betancourt, his timing combined with his successful season meant that these stung a bit less because they were pretty far down the list of concerns for a team in shambles.