Bettis lifts Rockies with solid outing

Righty's seven frames aid taxed bullpen in Colorado's win

Bettis lifts Rockies with solid outing

DENVER -- After being outscored 29-9 in the first two games of the series, there was nothing the Rockies needed more than a quality start. Chad Bettis gave it to them on Sunday, pitching seven innings and allowing only two runs (one earned) on six hits and no walks for a 6-3 win.

"That's exactly what we needed after a couple ugly ones," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss.

Bettis was teamed up with rookie catcher Tony Wolters, who made his first big league start. Though he admitted his knees were shaking, Wolters settled in and "took control," according to Bettis, whose comprehensive approach to preparation made an impact on his battery mate.

"Chad is such a talented pitcher," Wolters said. "He has four plus pitches. He prepares himself. He doesn't just prepare the day of. He prepares four days before. He's in the video room all the time. The last two or three days, we've been just preparing for this game. He executed what he wanted to do. That's a great feeling for a pitcher and a catcher."

That kind of preparation can't be overstated -- particularly at Coors Field, where pitchers need every angle they can find. Bettis' focus on studying the opposition and developing a solid game plan were as important as his cutter in sawing down the Padres on Sunday.

"A couple days ago, I sat down with Tony Wolters and kind of went over the game plan, how we wanted to pitch to these guys, and it came to fruition," Bettis said. "It changed a little bit. They got hot. There were some things I needed to re-evaluate, how I wanted to attack them."

Bettis and Wolters watched a pair of good Rockies starters get hit hard by the Padres over the first two games of the season, and they made the necessary adjustments to turn the tide for the finale.

"They're a very aggressive ballclub," Wolters said. "They have runners. You want to keep guys off the base. You want to speed them up. You want to pitch each count and not get into patterns. We were in and out, in and out. We kept on going back and forth. That was one of our goals -- no patterns today. I think we did a really good job. It looked like they didn't know what was coming."

Bettis put the brakes on Weiss' need for frequent calls to the bullpen, needing only two innings of relief after a pair of games when the relievers ate most of the innings. He picked up his teammates and showed them he'd protect any lead they could offer.

"Whenever we have a pitcher like Bettis, the way he pitched today, there's no reason why we should lose a game," Carlos Gonzalez said. "I was kind of disappointed when the game was going, the way he was pitching and we were not scoring runs, you still want to put more on the board. I guess we waited a little bit longer, and the bullpen shut it down, so that was important, too."

Owen Perkins is a contributor for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.