DUNN’S RE­TURN TO FORM HELP­ING STA­BI­LIZE BULLPEN

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - Pa­trick Saun­ders, The Den­ver Post

While the Rock­ies were search­ing for re­lief pitch­ers as the trade dead­line neared, their shaky bullpen was be­ing shored up from within.

Left-han­der Mike Dunn has qui­etly and steadily be­gun to re­sem­ble the pitcher who posted a 1.17 ERA in April be­fore back is­sues landed him on the dis­abled list and messed with his me­chan­ics.

“I def­i­nitely feel like I’m in a bet­ter spot, but there is still room to im­prove and get sharper,” said Dunn, who signed a three-year, $19 mil­lion free-agent con­tract to come to Colorado. “Ini­tially, my me­chan­ics were off when I came back from in­jury. I got that straight­ened out, but then I put a lot of pres­sure on my­self to re­turn to form right away.

“I started tens­ing up and fight­ing my­self a lit­tle bit. Once I caught on to that, I took a step back and re­al­ized that I just needed to con­cen­trate on ex­e­cut­ing one pitch at a time.”

Dunn had a 4.46 ERA and 1.37 WHIP (walks and hits per in­nings pitched) en­ter­ing Fri­day night’s game against Philadel­phia. That’s cer­tainly not great, but he has held op­po­nents score­less in 11 of his last 12 ap­pear­ances with a 0.90 ERA.

“July was good for him and he looks back on track,” man­ager Bud Black said. “His pitches are con­densed in the strike zone and his slider has been much bet­ter. Even the curve­ball, which he uses spar­ingly, has landed much more con­sis­tently. He’s get­ting back to form.”

Bet­tis up­date.

Right-han­der Chad Bet­tis, work­ing his way back from tes­tic­u­lar can­cer, will make at least one more start for Triple-A Albuquerque be­fore he joins the start­ing ro­ta­tion, Black con­firmed Fri­day.

Bet­tis pitched 5 M in­nings for Triple-A Albuquerque against Round Rock (Texas) on Thurs­day night. He al­lowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits, in­clud­ing a solo homer, and two walks. He struck out five.

“Chad threw pitches into the sixth in­ning, which is great, and his fast­ball ve­loc­ity was up a tick, which was good to see,” Black said. “His break­ing pitches were ef­fec­tive, at times. I think Chad will tell you he would like to be a lit­tle bit more con­sis­tent. All in all, it was an­other step for him. He’s go­ing to pitch again, in five or six days, for the Iso­topes.”

Walk-off tid­bits.

Nolan Are­nado’s ninth-in­ning plate ap­pear­ance re­sult­ing in Colorado’s 5-4, walk-off win over the Mets on Thurs­day af­ter­noon was rare, for a cou­ple of rea­sons.

Af­ter start­ing with an 0-2 count, Are­nado walked with the bases loaded to drive in the win­ning run. That was the sec­ond time in 84 plate ap­pear­ances this sea­son in which he walked af­ter start­ing with an 0-2 count, ac­cord­ing to the Elias Sports Bu­reau.

Are­nado’s walk-off walk marked the first time in more than 11 years the Rock­ies won a game in that fash­ion. The last time was on May 5, 2006 vs. Hous­ton when Jamey Car­roll drew a free pass with the bases loaded. The Rock­ies also won that game 5-4.

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