DENVER -- Tyler Chatwood's struggles at home have been well-chronicled, but the veteran right-hander boasted arguably his best fastball command of the season before the Colorado bullpen's latest meltdown in a 7-5 loss to Texas on Tuesday.Chatwood threw 6 2/3 strong innings and painted the corners with elevated velocity, striking
DENVER -- Tyler Chatwood's struggles at home have been well-chronicled, but the veteran right-hander boasted arguably his best fastball command of the season before the Colorado bullpen's latest meltdown in a 7-5 loss to Texas on Tuesday.
Chatwood threw 6 2/3 strong innings and painted the corners with elevated velocity, striking out a season-high eight batters, six looking. A sizable 25 percent of his punchouts on the year have come via a called third strike.
"The fastball command was a difference," manager Walt Weiss said. "It was bottom of the zone and there were hard two-seamers. They were having a hard time getting a barrel to it. Chatty, it's a shame he didn't get a win there."
Chatwood fanned Ian Desmond looking to lead off the game with a high-and-away cutter, then registered his next seven punchouts on fastballs that each topped his season average of 92.5 mph. He said he avoided his oft-reliable changeup -- which batters are just 3-for-17 against -- after it cost him three runs on just two swings in Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Dodgers.
"I think a lot of this season, I've had the chance to kind of sneak a pitch and kind of freeze a guy, and I haven't been able to do that," Chatwood said. "I felt like I was able to do that today."
In Chatwood's six starts before Tuesday since a stint on the disabled list with a back strain, he was averaging 6.97 walks per nine innings due to what pitching coaches diagnosed as a rushed delivery. After issuing a season-high eight walks on July 24, he's lowered that number in each outing, finishing with no free passes for just the third time this season on Tuesday.
"I was just coming out of my delivery early," Chatwood said. "Kind of trying to see where the ball was going to go, rather than just riding out my front side and throwing the ball where I wanted to. I think that was the biggest thing was just coming out of it a little early."
Chatwood, who received his fourth no-decision, is 4-7 with a 5.42 ERA in 12 starts at Coors Field this year, but an impressive 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA away from altitude.
"I think I just had some bad habits from my back," Chatwood said. "I was just working with the pitching coaches and kind of ironing some of that out, and not coming out of my delivery has helped that a lot. I feel good. I feel like my stuff is where I need to be, and just got to continue to pitch and try to make pitches."
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.