In his second career Major League start, Chad Bettis labored through the first three innings before settling down and making quick work of the New York Mets in the fourth and fifth innings. Unfortunately, with the Colorado Rockies still enforcing a strict pitching limit, Bettis was lifted for a pinch hitter to start the sixth inning after firing just 89 pitches. I would have liked to see him go out for the sixth inning after tossing back to back 1-2-3 innings, but in a 2-1 ball game, I understand the decision to pinch hit Charlie Blackmon for him to leadoff the inning.
Bettis struggled early, getting behind hitters and leaving too many pitches up. In his first three innings, he was up in the zone and was fortunate to not get hurt too badly as Mets hitters were swinging through good pitches to hit. In his two sharp innings, Bettis worked ahead in the count and got ground balls with his two-seam fastball. It was a successful second start for Bettis, surrendering only two runs in five innings of work and keeping the Rockies in the ball game.
Things to like about Bettis:
He’s missing, but not by much. He seems to be a little scared of the middle of the plate early in counts. He’s throwing his fastball three inches off the plate consistently, but he’s not violently missing the zone. He’s throwing good pitches, just not for strikes. It is a small adjustment that needs to be made to help him get ahead of hitters and ultimately pitch deeper into games. Getting ahead of hitters will also allow him to use his breaking pitches more.
He appeared to throw more two-seam fastballs in Game 2 and with success as he kept the ball on the ground. In his debut, I worried about the flatness of his fastball. However, in Game 2 he showed some movement without losing velocity.
He has a bulldog presence on the mound. He holds his emotions in check and controls the pace of the game well, but also has an intensity about him that evokes confidence.
Things to be weary of:
He has flashed a good breaking ball, but has let too many of them hang up in the zone. Before Bettis garners too much excitement, he needs to show the ability to throw sharp breaking balls consistently.
He’s been off the plate early and then leaves fastballs up over the plate in hitters counts. Although I like the potential I see in his fastball command, he is not there yet and needs to improve before locking down a rotation spot.
Overall, with the performance of Rockies fourth and fifth starters on the year, Bettis looks like our best choice to slot in one of those spots for the rest of the year. Especially with the playoffs seemingly out of reach.