At 27, it might be difficult to believe that Tyler Chatwood is the veteran of this Colorado Rockies pitching staff.
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You better believe it. Chatwood isn’t backing away from this role either. Especially with other valuable starters on the disabled list.
This was all exemplified on a night where Chatwood did not have his best stuff. He was coming off the best performance of his career against these Giants in his last start but the results were not the same back home. Regardless the Rockies beat the Johnny Cueto and the Giants on a cold rainy night at Coors Field, 6-5. Manager Bud Black was particularly impressed with Chatty after he showed resilience after a tough start.
"“As [Chatwood] got into the fifth and sixth innings here came the curve ball,” Black said. “Which I think helped him get through the last couple of innings. They got him in the second with three runs early in the game but that’s not anything we don’t think we can overcome. We hung in there. I’m proud of Chatty for that.”"
Last season Chatwood excelled on the road going 8-1 with a 1.69 ERA. At home he had a 4-8 record with a 6.12 ERA. He said the key to improving his home success is to limit his walks. Chatwood acknowledges there is more to the puzzle if he is to match his road record at home.
"“I needed to get my curve and my fastball command better,” Chatwood said. “My cutter was a big pitch that helped me out here too. I feel good with everything right now. When I need to make an adjustment, I feel like I am able to do that pretty quick.”"
Chatwood laid down the formula for what a pitcher needs to do to earn at win a Coors Field. He bent but didn’t break and he adjusted long enough to hand it off to the back end of the bullpen. A grand slam from Trevor Story and an inside-the-park home run from Charlie Blackmon took care of the rest. Chatwood improved his record to 2-2 on the season and this was his first at Coors Field since July 24, 2016.
Tony Wolters had a similar assessment of his battery-mate’s performance and progression.
"“We’re going to have days where we aren’t going to have our best stuff. Be we have a lot of pitchers on this team that are competetors,” Wolters said. “Competitors who are going to figure it out during the game even if they are like okay my stuff isn’t there. They’re smart enough. That’s what Chatty did today. He started seeing what the hitters were doing. He adjusted. He’s throwing all of his pitches."
Chatwood’s other battery-mate Dustin Garneau said that the veteran was someone the team leaned on even before spring training. The veteran righty has brought a work ethic that is unparalleled, that is rubbing off on these younger pitchers. Garneau has noticed one thing though that has changed the most in the year plus that he has
"“His mentality,” Garneau said. ” He’s really a fired up guy all the time but he’s learned how to control that and be a pitcher with it. He’s using his secondary pitches to make his fastball even better now.He showed in the start against San Francisco where his curve ball and change up came out to play. That set the tone for them that they can’t just hit heaters. He’s primarily a 90 percent heater guy during the game. Now he’s mixing in all of his other stuff and making him a tougher pitcher.”"
Chatwood is quietly becoming one of the best starters the franchise has ever had. He’s done this and overcome injury with profuse preparation, mixing his pitches more frequently and the ability to adjust on the fly. Not a bad example for this young pitching staff to learn how to be a successful Colorado Rockies pitcher.