This MLB season has been filled with highs and lows for the 2013 Colorado Rockies, but being 13 games down from first in the weakest National League division with an All-Star and a starting pitcher on the disabled list sure sounds like a death knell. With a third of the season left to go, what is left for the 2013 Colorado Rockies and their fans to do?
This is the question that faces every team that finds themselves out of contention in the waning days of summer, but the 2013 Colorado Rockies still have several reasons for fans and analysts to keep watching. The first reason is Chad Bettis.
This 24-year-old right-hander has found himself in the starting rotation with a unique opportunity. The 2013 season’s wins and losses may not amount to much for Colorado’s playoff chances, but this is the time when management can put pitchers in the rotation to give them an opportunity to gain experience in the big show. Nothing tunes a pitcher to big league batters like facing them in real games.
Bettis’ debut against the Atlanta Braves earned a 9.0 ERA, but he threw five innings and showed some improvement. More importantly, Bettis showed that he could take a beating without completely losing his composure. When Bettis faced the New York Mets, he gave up two runs in the first inning but again was able to recover. He went on to give up only two more hits and no runs in the following four innings of work, which brought him to a 6.30 ERA.
August 11 for Bettis showed more improvement as the fledgling starter pitched six and again held the Pittsburgh Pirates to four hits and two runs during his service. Is Bettis the redeeming addition to the rotation that Colorado has been waiting for?
No, or at least not yet. The key is that management has the chance to groom him now for a potential spot in 2014. There is the possibility that Jonathan Gray or Eddie Butler may bump Bettis to the bullpen next season, but that does not change the fact that he has a real shot right now to earn a starter spot.
Pitching is not the only place with opportunities to examine different talents. Although Dick Monfort, Colorado Rockies owner, has said that he would like to see Michael Cuddyer replace Todd Helton at first in 2014, now is the perfect time to experiment with some alternative combinations. Seeing Wilin Rosario at first on August 11 does present some interesting offensive options and it gives management a chance to see if their starting catcher is can work elsewhere.
While fans should not expect to see Todd Helton’s last season end in a playoff contest, there are still other reasons to watch the boys in purple finish out the 2013 season.