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How Chad Bettis responds to career worst outing will be telling

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The Rockies will try for their first home sweep of the season.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies go for the four game sweep against the Atlanta Braves this afternoon.

Chad Bettis has been the Rockies' best starting pitcher this season, though he turned in a real stinker his last time out. Heading into his July 7 start against the Angels, Bettis had a 3.67 ERA. The Angels then subjected Bettis to an unholy shellacking. He threw 2 1/3 innings and gave up ten runs on eight hits. Four of those eight hits were home runs. He struck out two and walked one, but when a pitcher gives up ten runs in just over two innings, that hardly matters. After the game, Bettis's ERA jumped all the way to 4.95.

But we have to look beyond ERA to recognize Bettis's season. Baseball Prospectus recently rolled out an excellent new pitching measure called Deserved Run Average (DRA). In short, this statistic accounts for just about every conceivable bit of context—including base running, catcher, umpire, platoon splits, home park, and strength of opposition—to determine precisely how well a pitcher has performed. It's calibrated to look like ERA, so it's easy to read. While Bettis's ERA jumped from a very good 3.67 to an almost unsightly 4.95 after his last start, his DRA jumped from an excellent 2.76 to a still good 3.83. In fact, Bettis's DRA remains seven percent better than league average. The caveat, however, is that DRA is a precise measure of what has happened, but it doesn't say much bout what will happen.

If Bettis shows resiliency and returns to form today, it won't be the first time. His first shot at the big leagues didn't go so well, as he posted an ERA in the mid-fives in 2013. He was then miscast as a reliever in 2014, to poor results. His entire 2015 season to this point has been resilient. If Bettis turns in a good outing this afternoon, it will be a vote of confidence for his DRA as well as for his ability to handle and respond to failure.

The Braves counter Bettis with left-hander Alex Wood, who started the first game of the series before the rain delay knocked him out of the game. Wood enters the game with a 3.34 ERA and a DRA of 4.40. Today will mark Wood's first real Coors Field experience, although sitting around during a rain delay is a pretty fair representation of 2015 Coors Field. Wood relies on a three pitch mix. Wood throws a sinker, which averages about 90 mph, and he complements that pitch with a knuckle curve and a circle change. Whatever he throws, Wood looks violent doing it.

Drew Stubbs and Wilin Rosario get the start today against the lefty, as they should.

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<h3>Today's Lineups</h3>

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<th align="left">ATLANTA BRAVES</th>

<th align="left">COLORADO ROCKIES</th>

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<tr><td class="td-last td-name">Jace Peterson - 2B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Charlie Blackmon - CF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Cameron Maybin - CF</td><td class="td-first td-name">DJ LeMahieu - 2B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Nick Markakis - RF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Troy Tulowitzki - SS</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Kelly Johnson - 1B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Nolan Arenado - 3B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Juan Uribe - 3B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Carlos Gonzalez - RF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">A.J. Pierzynski - C</td><td class="td-first td-name">Wilin Rosario - 1B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Jonny Gomes - LF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Nick Hundley - C</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Andrelton Simmons - SS</td><td class="td-first td-name">Drew Stubbs - LF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Alex Wood - LHP</td><td class="td-first td-name">Chad Bettis - RHP</td></tr></tbody>

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