DENVER -- Manager Walt Weiss wanted to see how hard-throwing right-hander Chad Bettis would do in a setup role, and there were positives despite allowing the tying run in the eighth inning of Monday night's 6-2 victory over the Cardinals.
Bettis hit leadoff man David Freese and gave up Matt Carpenter's two-out RBI double, but he also threw his fastball from 93 to 96 mph, struck out one and threw strikes on nine of his 15 pitches.
A second-round Draft pick in 2010 out of Texas Tech, Bettis did starting and relief duties in college. He made eight starts for the Rockies, but the team is intrigued by the increased fastball velocity in short outings. Weiss used Matt Belisle in the seventh, and Bettis, the Rockies' eighth-ranked prospect according to MLB.com, in the eighth. The Rockies broke the tie in the bottom of the eighth to give Bettis his first Major League win.
Bettis, 24, has said he enjoys starting, but after three relief outings he's enjoying himself in the bullpen.
Bettis' future will be discussed extensively during the winter. Given the lack of starting pitching depth around baseball, the Rockies have had a hard time not taking advantage of a Major League-ready power arm in that role. But with Bettis showing more power in relief, he's putting up a good argument for being used late. The question is whether the Rockies can build enough starting pitching depth to plan on Bettis pitching late.
"What's the best fit for him and for your club, and you make those determinations at a certain point," Weiss said of the decision. "With Bettis, it would be sometime this offseason. A lot of it comes down to the design of your club. That changes and evolves, even over the course of the season."
Weiss also was happy with the performance of right-hander Collin McHugh, who held the Cards to one run in five innings and threw just 72 pitches. The Rockies acquired McHugh during the season from the Mets, and they are looking for him to compete for a rotation spot next season.
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.Less