Indulge me for a moment in a little time travel exercise. Flash back to May 24. On that day, Tyler Chatwood allows one hit over seven scoreless innings in a 7-2 victory for the Colorado Rockies at Philadelphia.
Now flash forward a bit to June 3 at San Diego, where Chatwood allows one run and four hits over eight innings as the Rockies hammer the Padres 10-1.
The following start in Chicago, Chatwood limits the defending World Champion Cubs to one hit and four hits in six innings. Next up in Pittsburgh, Chatwood scatters six hits and a run over six innings. June 18 sees Chatwood give up two runs and five hits over six innings in what will forever be known as the Nolan Arenado walkoff cycle win over the San Francisco Giants.
Chatwood finishes June with a 2-1 mark and 2.76 ERA while opponents hit .214 against him.
Sure, that was then and this is now. And that “then” seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? But, looking at that, it’s easy to see why Rockies manager Bud Black and others within the organization aren’t ready to throw Chatwood on the trash heap, despite the torches and pitchforks that are being shown outside the Coors Field gates.
July was rough for Chatwood. An 0-3 mark and 7.90 ERA are hard to hide, as is a .321 opponent batting average. The low point was in New York against the Mets when he recorded just one out before being lifted with a strained right calf that would eventually land him on the disabled list.
The Mets provided another low on Wednesday night, hanging a season-high eight runs (including seven earned) on the 27-year-old right-hander. The final blow, a Curtis Granderson three-run shot, spelled the end of the night for Chatwood … and potentially the end of his time in the Colorado rotation.
The night started with nine Mets up and nine Mets down as Chatwood cruised through the first three innings. Opening the fourth against Michael Conforto, Chatwood bounced a ball in front of the plate which struck home plate umpire Kerwin Danley. A 13-minute delay was needed to remove the injured Danley from the game and settle a now three-man umpire rotation.
After the delay, Conforto singled and Jay Bruce would follow with a homer two batters later, giving the Mets three hits in their first four at-bats since the delay. A two-run fifth and six-run sixth would follow, quickly turning a 5-0 Rockies lead into a 10-5 deficit.
"“I was executing the same pitches,” Chatwood told Rox Pile and other media members after the game. “I missed away (against Bruce). He’s a good hitter. I missed my spot and he hit it out.“To be honest with you, I kind of felt in control the whole time. I gave up some runs at the end and gave up the big blow at the very end that killed us.”"
That’s what makes the Chatwood decision tough. Chatwood has flashes of brilliance that quickly remind you of earlier this season. With that in mind, a trip to the bullpen could make Chatwood more effective as he won’t have to face batters for likely more than one trip through the lineup. It was the second time through the lineup that tormented Chatwood and the Rockies on Wednesday.
With a plethora of starting pitching options at Colorado’s disposal and Chad Bettis creeping ever closer to his return, Chatwood could move into a different role for the season’s final two months. Either way, he made very clear to reporters after the game that he wasn’t throwing in the towel.
"“I’m being pretty positive. I have a pretty good life and I’ve been a pretty good pitcher for a while,” Chatwood said. “You just have to roll with us and keep grinding. There is still two months of the season left and we’re in a good spot. You have to stay positive and keep going.”"