Chat­wood fights way into ro­ta­tion

Vet­eran right-han­der wasn’t pleased with de­mo­tion

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Groke

Tyler Chat­wood bor­rowed — stole might be more ac­cu­rate — Alexi Amarista’s bat Fri­day night, then he hit a game­break­ing two-run sin­gle. But the vet­eran Rock­ies right-han­der is not try­ing to pitch like some­body else. He is fi­nally back to him­self.

Chat­wood won con­sec­u­tive games for the first time since early June, after he threw 94 pitches over 5M in­nings to lead the Rock­ies past the Padres. His pitch count was telling. After the Rock­ies de­moted the 27-year-old to the bullpen in late July, Chat­wood re­turned to full length. He is a proper starter, once again a full-time mem­ber of the Rock­ies ro­ta­tion.

“That’s what I’m used to do­ing. Start­ing,” Chat­wood said. “I’ve started most of my ca­reer. That’s what I feel best do­ing. That’s the best way I can help us win games.”

In seven re­lief ap­pear­ances over five weeks, Chat­wood seemed lost, a pitcher with­out a clear pur­pose. He earned a sec­ond ca­reer save after pitch­ing a clean 12th in­ning at Cleve­land on Aug. 9, but was other­wise rel­e­gated to mid­dle-in­ning mop-up duty out of the bullpen.

Chat­wood was not pleased about this devel­op­ment.

“I’ve been good for awhile here. I had a rough start against the Mets and I got put in the bullpen,” he said.

Fri­day’s vic­tory over the Padres put him back in place. But only after he found his go-to weapon, a two-seam fast­ball that runs down and away to left­handed hit­ters. For much of the sea­son, his best pitch was run­ning flat, off the plate, lead­ing to too many walks. He had a 5.25 ERA on May 12.

Some on-the-run me­chan­i­cal ad­just­ments squared his de­liv­ery, plant­ing his foot more in line with his body. It gave him more true move­ment to his sinker­ball.

“I was fight­ing my­self,” Chat­wood said. “My two-seam has al­ways been my pitch. We no­ticed it and I picked up on it right away.”

Chat­wood last sea­son led the Rock­ies’ ro­ta­tion with a 3.87 ERA, but the num­ber hit a deeper trend. He had a 1.69 ERA on the road, but a 6.12 mark at Coors Field. His one-run ef­fort Fri­day in Den­ver, the Rock­ies hope, sig­nals a turn­around.

“When we sent him to the bullpen, a lot of that was per­for­mance-based,” Colorado man­ager Bud Black said. “He came back with a mind-set of, ‘I’m not go­ing to beat my­self. I’m gonna go after people and trust my stuff in the hit­ting area.’ “

Against the Padres, Chat­wood threw just 52 strikes against 42 balls, a trou­bling sign ac­cord­ing to Black. He was saved by forc­ing two dou­ble-play ground­outs in the first and sec­ond in­nings.

“For Tyler, long-term, that’s prob­a­bly one thing for him that he should re­ally con­cen­trate on as his ca­reer con­tin­ues,” Black said. “But we gave him this op­por­tu­nity to get back into the ro­ta­tion and he seized it.”

Ro­ta­tion changes. Chat­wood will push up a day in the Rock­ies ro­ta­tion to pitch Wed­nes­day at San Francisco, the sight of his best game this sea­son. He threw a two-hit­ter over nine in­nings there on April 15.

The Rock­ies in­stead will push back right-han­der Chad Bet­tis, who recorded just one out in his pre­vi­ous start, a loss at Ari­zona on Thursday. Bet­tis in­stead will pitch Satur­day at Ari­zona. The rest of the ro­ta­tion will fill in be­fore him.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.