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An ode to Colorado Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt

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He's the best reliever in Rockies history, and he's reminding us of that fact just about every day.

Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

On Jan. 30, 2015, I wrote the following phrase in this very space regarding the Colorado Rockies' free-agent signing of Rafael Betancourt:

kinda hilarious

These days, Betancourt is the one doing the laughing.

A signing that was no more than an expected afterthought has, with the "it's very early" caveat, been the single most important addition to the Rockies' revamped bullpen. After earning the save in Colorado's 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday, Betancourt's season line looks every bit like one we would have seen from the "young," chipper 34-year-old acquired from the Cleveland Indians in 2009:

Innings pitched: 4.0
Runs allowed: 0
Hits allowed: 0
Walks allowed: 0
Strikeouts: 6

Betancourt has struck out half the batters he has faced and has yet to allow a single baserunner. What's just as encouraging is that his fastball velocity is right back to where it was prior to the Tommy John surgery Betancourt underwent in August of 2013. And his command, which is usually the last thing a pitcher regains after that operation? Superb, as always. No pitcher in Rockies history has been able to hit his spots more consistently than Betancourt. Six grueling seasons and a major elbow surgery later, he's still doing it. And doing it better than ever.

How can you not love this guy? Never leave us, Raffy. I'm sorry I laughed at you. I didn't mean it. But if it's stuff like that statement that is allowing you to do what you're doing, I'm glad I wrote it.

Links

Swingman Bergman ready for first 2015 start | rockies.com
Christian Bergman enters Monday having pitched only one inning so far this season, but that won't prevent him from getting the start in lieu of Jorge De La Rosa, who still isn't ready to return from a groin injury that has hampered him all spring.

Four lessons every team should learn from LaTroy Hawkins' career - MLB Daily Dish
The career of the Rockies' recently demoted closer should teach everyone not to ever jump to conclusions about a pitcher, writes Mike Bates.

Jeff Bridich: Changing The Colorado Rockies Culture - Rox Pile
Jeremiah Penaflor compiles the evidence that points in the direction of big changes at 20th and Blake.