MLB Baseball

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5:10 PM PT6:10 PM MT7:10 PM CT8:10 PM ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 PM MST7:10 PM EST7:40 PM VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 PM CT, August 19, 2017
Coors Field, Denver, Colorado  Attendance: 47,216

Rockies' Bettis continues comeback versus Brewers

DENVER -- After his heartwarming comeback Monday, Colorado Rockies starter Chad Bettis did a series of interviews this week.

Bettis recalled one questioner asking: "'Next start's going to be normal, right?' I was like, 'No, to be honest. I don't think another start will ever be normal again for me just because everything's changed.'"

The right-hander underwent surgery for testicular cancer in November and then had to endure nine weeks of chemotherapy when cancer was detected in his lymph nodes in March.

Bettis (0-0, 0.00 ERA) pitched seven scoreless innings against Atlanta in his 2017 debut and will start Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers. He is 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA in three career starts against the Brewers.

Milwaukee will start Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 1.50 ERA). He will be making his third start after making his major league debut Aug. 4 and has never faced the Rockies.

Against the Braves, Bettis threw 89 pitches, 62 strikes, and gave up six hits with no walks and two strikeouts. He stranded five runners and held the Braves hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. After Bettis left the game, the Rockies scored three runs in the eighth and won 3-0.

Bettis took the mound after pitching 23 1/3 innings in six games, five starts, on a rehab assignment. That was more or less his spring training. In the past, Bettis has topped out at 96-97 mph with his fastball. Understandably, he sat around 90 mph with the pitch Monday.

"I did feel a little disconnection, because I think I was a little out of rhythm with everything," Bettis said. I've had way better mechanical starts than what I did Monday, but a lot of those jitters are going to be gone this next start. Still, I think I ended up getting to 92, 93 (mph), which is fine. It's always a work in progress to keep going, moving forward. This is essentially April, April in August."

Bettis said he is a much different pitcher than he was last year when he led the Rockies in wins (14), starts (32) and innings (186). He said he approached Monday's game closer to starts in the second half of last year "but still a little bit more in depth, a little bit more refined. That's a huge step for me."

Asked what he meant by more in depth, Bettis said, "Preparing smarter. I really want to give you a lot more information about it, but I can't."

Woodruff took a 4-0 loss in his last outing Aug. 9 against Minnesota, allowing three hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. Opponents are batting .225 against Woodruff, who was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs where he went 6-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 15 starts.

The altitude at Colorado Springs is 6,035 feet -- higher than Denver's 5,280 feet -- and windy conditions are the norm at the ballpark there. So while Woodruff will be making his Coors Field debut, he should benefit from having experienced the harsh pitching conditions at Colorado Springs.

"I do think it helps, I really do," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Because I think you come in here and all the players have kind of heard the stories. He's felt it already, so he knows what it's like.

"I think the (Coors Field) stories kind of get pushed down a little bit for him. It's not going to be a surprise what his breaking ball looks like. He's not going to be surprised how the ball feels in his hand. So I think it's a good thing he's pitched in this environment, for sure."

Updated August 19, 2017

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