Trying to stay in rotation, Chatwood struggles

Rockies will have options for starters down the stretch

August 3rd, 2017

DENVER -- Rockies right-hander said he "felt in control the whole time," even as the result rapidly spun the other way.

Chatwood started with three perfect innings, and his team gave him a five-run lead. But by the time he exited after 5 1/3 innings, he had been tagged with eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits, including two home runs, in the Rockies' 10-5 loss to the Mets at Coors Field on Wednesday.

A solo homer in the fourth seemed to awaken the Mets. And with the game tied at 5 with one out in the sixth, delivered the knockout -- a three-run homer that sent Chatwood to the dugout with a 6-12 record and 5.11 ERA, figures that don't bode well for a pitcher trying to hold a rotation spot on a team that currently holds the second National League Wild Card.

"To be honest with you, I kind of felt in control the whole time," Chatwood said. "I gave up some runs right there at the end, and then the big blow was the last one that kinda killed us."

Future rotation decisions could become sticky.

Righty (10-4, 4.70 ERA), skipped this time to hone his fastball command, struck out four and gave up one hit over the final three innings. Righty , coming back from a bout with testicular cancer, will pitch Thursday night for Triple-A Albuquerque at San Antonio, and most likely will throw one more injury rehab game beyond that.

Chatwood's season has been weird, and not in a good way. It got weirder and worse Wednesday.

According to Statcast™, Chatwood's 84.9-mph average exit velocity coming in was fourth lowest among pitchers with 300 or more batted balls, but that didn't translate into success. And lately, the rhythm has been disjointed.

This marked Chatwood's first start since July 15, when he retired just one batter and gave up four runs before leaving with a right calf strain against the Mets. He had thrown one inning of relief since.

Adding to the strangeness was an event that market the end of Chatwood's effectiveness.

Chatwood struck out two and benefited from two sparkling defensive plays by shortstop . But he bounced a 2-1 pitch to well in front of the plate in the fourth. The ball then went over the right shoulder of catcher and hit the left hand of home-plate umpire Kerwin Danley.

After a 13-minute injury delay, the game resumed. Conforto singled, and Chatwood's night was not the same.

"It was a long break, no doubt about that, and a long inning," Chatwood said. "But, no, that's not really an excuse."

Chatwood and manager Bud Black both said there was some bad luck, but Granderson's homer was symptomatic of Chatwood's outing. Early on, he mixed pitches, but as the outing progressed, he stuck with the fastball.

Chatwood insisted he isn't deterred.

"I'm being pretty positive," Chatwood said. "I have a pretty good life, and I've been a pretty good pitcher for a while. So you've just got to kind of roll with this, and keep grinding."