Chatwood a contrast to Moyer in rotation battle

Chatwood a contrast to Moyer in rotation battle

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwood is in many ways a polar opposite of teammate Jamie Moyer.

Chatwood is right-handed with a 94-mph fastball, Moyer a lefty who tops out at around 83. The most obvious difference is Chatwood is 22 and Moyer is 49 and made his first Major League appearance more than three years before Chatwood was born. None of this is good or bad.

But there was a night-and-day difference between Moyer's appearance Thursday night against the Giants and Chatwood's game against the Cubs on Friday. With both of them seemingly competing for the same spot in the season-opening starting rotation, the contrast does not bode well for Chatwood.

The Cubs blistered Chatwood for nine runs, seven earned, and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings of the 10-8 Rockies loss. Geovany Soto hit a pair of two-run homers and drove in five runs, so he was a particular problem for Chatwood. The previous night, Moyer threw four perfect innings with four strikeouts in the Rockies' 7-0 victory.

The Rockies have named Jeremy Guthrie their Opening Day starter and appear to have, although manager Jim Tracy has not established an order, left-hander Drew Pomeranz and righties Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio in line to have jobs.

That leaves Chatwood, Moyer and Guillermo Moscoso -- who had a rough outing Thursday afternoon against the Padres -- as candidates for a single spot, although the remaining pitchers could begin the year as relievers or spot-starters.

Still, they will have two more starts between now and when camp breaks, so there is no need for Chatwood to panic.

"I missed some pitches," Chatwood said. "I was getting ahead in counts and not finishing them. That pretty much sums it up. Especially in games like that, when your team gets you a lead early and you can't hold it, it never feels good.

"But you've just got to learn from that one, move on and get ready for the next one."

Chatwood never figured out Soto. The first home run came when Chatwood missed on two sliders, then left a slider hanging over the plate that Soto swatted. On the second homer, Soto swung hard at Chatwood's first-pitch fastball.

Marlon Byrd also doubled twice against Chatwood.

Tracy said Chatwood's timing was an issue. Chatwood has a maximum-effort delivery that gives him power, but when he's off he can miss inside to right-handed hitters and outside to lefties.

"The ball was up today, and you're going to see that with a young kid," Tracy said. "As I've said, I anxiously await when his opportunity comes again, as far as the bounce-back is concerned."

Before Friday, Chatwood had held opponents to three runs and eight hits, with six strikeouts to one walk, in seven Cactus League innings.

Chatwood went 6-11 with a 4.75 ERA in 27 games, including 25 starts, last season for the Angels, who traded him to the Rockies on Dec. 16 for catcher Chris Iannetta. However, this is Chatwood's first Spring Training competition.

The Angels reassigned him to Minor League camp in the second round of player moves last year. They brought him back late in the spring for a start while one of the veterans was pitching in a Minor League game. By the season's second week, however, injuries forced the Angels to call on him, and he stayed in the rotation for much of the season.

To help with the learning curve, Chatwood said he has picked the brain of Moyer, who over his career has been generous with younger pitchers.

"We're two totally different types of pitchers, but just seeing him go about his business is pretty impressive," Chatwood said. "I'll talk to him tomorrow and see what he says, see if he saw anything."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.