For a pitcher who started the season in Triple-A, Chad Bettis has emerged as one of the bright spots for the Colorado Rockies in 2015.
Despite not making his 2015 MLB debut until May 14 and missing more than a month with right shoulder inflammation, Bettis has logged an 8-5 mark with a 4.46 ERA. His eight wins are the second-most on the team behind Jorge De La Rosa’s nine victories. Impressively, Bettis has recorded eight wins in 18 starts while De La Rosa has needed 26 starts for his nine wins.
In his last seven starts, Bettis has pieced together a 4-1 mark with a 3.66 ERA, easily the best stretch of his professional career. Included in that run was a five-inning performance in his last outing against the San Diego Padres where he walked just one and struck out six. The strikeouts came at opportune times as well as Bettis worked his way out of trouble in three of his five innings on the mound.
“Chad did a nice job. He had to work out of some jams and some innings were stressful but he did a very good job,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. “His curve has been a factor but his cutter/slider has been a good pitch for him. He’s a guy who has had a bump in innings from a year ago.”
The evolution of Bettis has included an increase in innings pitched, going from a combined 69.1 in his first two big-league campaigns to 103 so far this season. More innings pitched mean more opportunities for Bettis to learn and mature on the mound, including developing movement on strikeout pitches.
“My cutter tends to move like a slider,” Bettis said. “I come out very energetic and as the game goes along, I get more dialed in. For me, the key is to be efficient. When a guy gets on, I want to know how to get out of it.”
Another factor that has helped Bettis in recent starts has been the callup of catcher Dustin Garneau. Making his MLB debut on August 20, Garneau has provided a level of comfort for Bettis after the duo worked together extensively in the minors for two years at the Double- and Triple-A levels.
“Working with Dustin is huge,” Bettis said. “We’ve been together since we were drafted and built a solid foundation. We come in with a good game plan and when there are guys on, we work together to get out of it.”
Garneau, who has inherited the majority of the Colorado catching duties since Nick Hundley went on the season-ending disabled list on September 11, believes the relationship he and Bettis developed in the minors has translated well into their MLB careers.
“There’s a trust factor there. I’ve caught him so many times that we have a very good working relationship,” Garneau said. “He’s starting to learn how to pitch with everything going on. He is learning how to pitch to hitters and lineups.”
Bettis gets his next chance to add to his win totals when he takes the mound for a scheduled start on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in what will be his last start at Coors Field in 2015.