Tuesday 4x4: Oh My, Ottavino
Adam Ottavino admits last year was a nightmare.
He, however, is waking up this year.
Yes, it’s early in the season. He has, however, appeared in three of the Rockies first four games, and he has been more dominating than ever.
How good has he been? Well, he has worked three innings, facing 10 batters. He did walk one, on Monday night in San Diego, but he also has struck out eight.
"I did a lot of good work this winter,” he said. “At some point, I started remembering that I'm talented, and I'm good and my pitches are still there, and it's just a matter of getting to the high level of focus that I had held myself to previously.”
Ottavino isn’t the only Rockies player showing a rebirth. Ian Desmond was dogged by injuries in his Rockies debut last year. Desmond, who signed a five-year $70 million deal prior to the 2017 season, suffered a broken left hand when he was hit by a pitch in spring training, sidelining him for the first month of the season, and was later disabled two times with a right calf strain.
The results were unDesmondlike. He hit .274, which is his normal range, but had only seven home runs and 40 RBI. So far, so good in his second go-round with the Rockies. In four games, he is 6-for-15 with a double, two home runs, five RBI, and a couple dazzling defensive plays at first base.
But then there shouldn’t be a surprise he had a big night at Petco Park on Monday. That has been the norm since he joined the Rockies last year. He has hit safely in 10 of 11 games at Petco with five home runs.
Chad Bettis battled his way through the first three innings Monday, but rebounded to finish five innings and turn over a 5-2 lead to the bullpen. Bettis gave up a home run to Wil Myers in the first, and saw 10 of the first 18 hitters he faced reach base. He, however, retired seven of the final eight and allowed only the two runs.
“There were some moments where he got through it, without pitching on his best night,” manager Bud Black said. “That’s a great lesson for (Kyle) Freeland and (Jon) Gray and (Antonio) Senzatela and some others. … Chad wasn’t as crisp as he was in spring training, but hopefully Chad makes 33 or 34 of these starts, and there are going to be some real good ones in there, and just a few of these.”
As for Myers, it was nothing new. He has a career .474 average against Bettis, who is tied with Patrick Corbin at the top of Myers’ Love to Hit List. Myers is hitting .300 or better against only eight pitchers against whom he has at least 18 plate appearances in his career.
Tyson Ross will be called up from minor-league camp and inserted in the Padres rotation for Tuesday’s game against the Rockies. The start will come one day shy of the second anniversary of his last start for the Padres – Opening Day 2016. Ross, an All-Star in 2015, hurt his shoulder in that game, missed the rest of that season and underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in October 2015.
Released by the Padres, he signed with the Rangers, where he had a 7.71 ERA in 12 games before being released. He, however, returned to the Padres in the spring and had a 3.00 ERA in five Cactus League games. Rest assured Ross, who struggled in the AL with both the A’s and Rangers, is excited about the return to the Padres, where he was a dominant pitcher.