Bettis takes leadership role with Rockies' staff

Bettis takes leadership role with Rockies' staff

DENVER -- Although he came into 2016 with a little over a year of experience, Rockies starter Chad Bettis has been seen as a leader.

Along with pitching coach Steve Foster, Bettis came up with a scoring system to rate each starter's performance based on statistics the pitcher can control, such as walks, strikeouts and first-pitch strikes. The team has kept up with the competition and has the results posted on the clubhouse bulletin board.

"I envision our staff and how we approach games as ever-evolving and to understand how to learn from whether you had a good start or a bad one," Bettis said. "I think you have to hold each other accountable in that sense of how can you be a better pitcher and how can you help our team out more."

Bettis isn't the clubhouse leader in his competition; after three strong starts to begin the season, his ERA ballooned up to 5.65 to end the first half. However, he has weathered the storm and remained a leader, because it is in his personality.

As part of his leadership, Bettis likes to connect to as many other pitchers as possible. Although he is the second-oldest starter on the staff at 27 years old, he makes sure to learn from everybody -- from 13-year veteran Jorge De La Rosa to rookies Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray. Those conversations have helped turn his season around.

Bettis has thrown quality starts in his last five outings with an impressive 3.09 ERA and a .222 batting average against during that stretch.

"It's definitely a struggle, especially when you're not performing the way everybody expects you to," Bettis said. "You lose some sleep at night, but you have guys that will also step up for you. There are times when I was struggling there and Chatty [Tyler Chatwood] stepped up for me, Gray stepped up."

Now the rotation requires almost no one to pick up slack as Bettis' resurgence has coincided with the best stretch of Rockies baseball.

Since the All-Star break, Rockies starters entered Thursday with a 3.24 ERA, the fourth-best mark in baseball, with quality starts in 14 of 19 games. This has helped them to an MLB-best 14-5 record in the second half.

"I think a big part is everybody on this staff has their own identity," Anderson said. "Nobody tries to be the other person. Just because Jon throws a lot of sliders or a really good curveball doesn't mean Chatwood has to do the same thing. It's really nice to see guys trusting their own stuff, which is huge because it helps everybody."

• Rockies manager Walt Weiss said right fielder Carlos Gonzalez (left ankle sprain) is day to day but would be able to pinch-hit with the game on the line. ... Shortstop Trevor Story's thumb surgery went as planned. ... Weiss said reliever Justin Miller (left oblique strain) is close to returning.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.