Colorado Rockies: Pitching Problematic in Loss to D-backs


Heading into the 2016 campaign, Colorado Rockies fans were worried that the pitching staff hadn’t improved much in the offseason. Two games into the season, it’s looking like those fears might actually be realized.

Colorado’s starting pitcher was bombarded for the second straight game in the Rockies’ 11-6 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. Unlike Monday’s Opening Night matchup, however, the Colorado Rockies offense couldn’t keep pace and provide the necessary firepower to grab the victory.

Chad Bettis, coming off a solid spring and end to the 2015 season, surrendered five runs in his Tuesday night start, the same number that Jorge De La Rosa gave up in his outing on Monday night. In a combined 10 innings, Bettis and De La Rosa, the two pitchers perceived as Colorado’s strongest starters heading into the season, have given up 10 runs and 15 hits, giving them an ERA of 9.00.

In all, Bettis surrendered five runs and seven hits in his 98-pitch performance in Tuesday’s loss.

“It’s early, and I thought he ran out of gas,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss told reporters after the game.

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After Bettis gave up a pair of solo homers to allow the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead, the Colorado Rockies offense came to life, putting up six runs in an inning for the second straight night. Rookie shortstop Trevor Story once again grabbed the offensive headlines, belting his third homer of the season as part of the six-run inning. With the blast, Story became just the second player in MLB history, and the first since 1889 (that’s not a typo), to follow a two-homer professional debut with a home run in his next game.

While Colorado’s pitching has struggled in its first two games, so has the vaunted Arizona 1-2 punch that the Diamondbacks pieced together in the offseason by acquiring notable starters Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. After scoring seven runs against Greinke on Monday night, the Rockies tagged Miller for six one night later.

Story would have one of three homers against Miller, with Nick Hundley and DJ LeMahieu adding the other two. Story’s solo shot, LeMahieu’s two-run blast, and Hundley’s three-run rocket accounted for Colorado’s six runs.

While Colorado’s six-run frame on Tuesday gave the Rockies a 6-2 advantage, the lead was short-lived. Arizona would erupt for nine unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh innings to knot the series at 1-1.

While it might be easy for Rockies fans to sigh and think another rough season on the mound is ahead, Bettis emphasized to reporters after the game that the past has nothing to do with the current season.

“There are some things I need to get better at and there are quicker outs along the way. I need to be a little bit more efficient,” said Bettis, who posted an 8-6 record and 4.16 ERA in 20 starts for the Rockies last season. “That being said, I don’t think it’s something that you can reflect on back into the past. We’re moving forward, pulling on the same rope.”

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Colorado’s bullpen also struggled on Tuesday night, with Christian Bergman taking the loss after giving up four runs and four hits in an inning of work. Jason Gurka followed by allowing two runs on four hits in 1.2 innings.