With names like Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman and Tyler Anderson, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the Colorado Rockies rotation of the future. On Monday, however, Chad Bettis reminded us that he has the potential to be a solid piece of the 2017 rotation as well.
Bettis had a career day on a sun-drenched Labor Day at Coors Field, allowing just two hits in a 6-0 blanking of the San Francisco Giants.
He started off perfect and didn’t allow a baserunner until there were two outs in the fifth inning. Bettis ended the day with the first two-hit shutout for the Rockies since Jason Marquis blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 30, 2009.
In a season of ups and downs, Bettis hit the highest point of his Rockies career at a time when 2017 is coming into focus. There have been some questions about where Bettis fits into Colorado’s plans, but he provided some answers on Monday.
“There were some adjustments I made from last start to this start,” Bettis said, choosing to keep those adjustments a secret. “It’s something I’ve been working on the last three or four bullpens. To see it work out this well is great.”
Against the Giants, Bettis struck out seven (one short of his career high). He also logged a season-high 15 groundouts while the Giants had just two flyouts. San Francisco didn’t hit a ball out of the infield until the fourth when Denard Span flied out to left field.
“Everything was working,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “He was commanding the fastball and using the curveball and changeup really well. He was commanding the secondary stuff. He could throw any pitch at any time for a strike. When you do that, you win.”
Bettis has won this season, leading the Rockies in victories with 12 against seven losses. He also leads the team in innings pitched with 162.1 and starts with 28. In a season where other pitchers have gotten a lot of press, Bettis has plugged along somewhat under the radar.
In his last seven starts, Bettis has a 3-1 mark with a 3.95 ERA. It’s part of an up-and-down season for the 27-year-old right-hander, who has sparkled at times (3-1 with a 3.55 ERA in July) and looked very mortal at others (2-3 with a 7.02 ERA in May). Rockies Twitter is always quick to rate if it’s going to be a good Chettis and Bad Chettis (rather than Chad Bettis) outing when the Texas native takes the hill.
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Still, there are plenty within the Colorado clubhouse who see the promise that lies within Bettis.
“You’re always pleased for those guys who do things the right way,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. “He works the right way. He prepares the right way. He’s a great teammate and leader, and I always love when those guys get rewarded by the game. He’s put a lot of time and a lot of work in. Outings like that don’t just happen. He prepared himself to pitch like that.”
You can count Carlos Gonzalez as a big fan of Bettis as well.
“I enjoy watching him pitch. He has talent,” CarGo said. “He’s been through ups and downs but he’s a great pitcher and he gives you an opportunity to win games. He works quick. He wants to make sure everyone playing behind him is in the game because he’s working quick.
“It’s nice when you have a performance like that from a pitcher when he’s just dealing. You spend more time in the dugout and hitting than playing defense,” Gonzalez added.
As Bettis walked off the field on Monday, he was showered with not only Powerade but admiration from the Colorado faithful. The moment wasn’t lost on Bettis, who smiled and waved happily at the crowd.
“It’s something that’s once in a lifetime,” Bettis said about the postgame reaction. “And hopefully it reoccurs a little more now.”
That’s exactly the feeling shared by the Rockies and their fans as well heading into 2017.