Sunday afternoon the Colorado Rockies continued to be the most unpredictable team since the creation of gambling. The matchup featured youngster Chad Bettis (0-1) against Pittsburgh Pirates‘ second year man Jeff Locke (9-3). The Pirates are arguably the best team in baseball. The swashbuckling ball players in black and gold are one of three teams with 70 or more wins and lead all of baseball in team ERA.
Since the Rockies have fallen to 12.5 out of first place thanks to Magic Johnson, who is apparently working alongside George Steinbrenner’s ghost, the Dodgers are as strong as they have been in recent memory (which is funny because the last time they looked this strong it was because of PEDs, reference Eric Gagne and 14 other Dodgers named in the 2007 Mitchell report).
Plus, thanks to the team’s worst road trip since 2007 it looks more and more like football season in Colorado: raise a glass to Salt River Fields post a Broncos Super Bowl win! Summarily, an opportunity for the Rockies to sweep the Pirates is something nobody saw coming.
If I were more of an optimist I might think about Chad Bettis setting himself up to be next year’s Matt Harvey. So drop back to reality to say that the 24-year-old Bettis pitched very well and that Colorado’s ninth rated prospect (according to MLB.com) just might be the first career Rockies pitcher to have a job long enough to have some baseball cards made. Bettis was not projected to be Major League ready until next season, perhaps in a copy cat move he was brought up in hopes of young success like Zack Wheeler of the Mets or Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays.
On Sunday, in Bettis’s first career quality start, he was robbed of credit for a win by a poor offense. So poor in fact that the Rockies’ first run was scored without recording a hit. Add an unearned run and the only clutch hit of the ballgame to that and you have a 3-2 come-from-behind victory for one of the worst teams over one of the best teams in all of baseball.
That clutch hit came from rookie Nolan Arenado who had the only Rockies’ hit that drove in a run. 19 of Arenado’s 39 RBIs this season have come with two outs in the inning; that says a lot for someone who has only played in 94 career games.
Avast matey, the last time the Rockies had a 1-9 road trip like the one that ended last week was 2007. How you ask did that season end? The Rockies won 14 of their last 15 games, including a one game playoff with San Diego, then an appearance in the World Series. Is it coincidence? Maybe the Rockies have found buried treasure in Bettis.
Let’s not forget at this point last season the Rockies were 19.5 games back and had no hope of a turnaround. This season there is still a shot like 2007. Young future Rockies stars like Bettis and Arenado offer some fresh air, if nothing else, during what has been a rough second half of the Rockies season.