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Rockies starter Chad Bettis is determined to return to the team in 2017

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Rockies news and links for Friday May 26, 2017.

Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis opens up about his ongoing battle with cancer | FOX Sports
Chad Bettis spoke with Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports about his cancer treatment and determination to re-join the Rockies in 2017. Rosenthal writes that, if he's cleared to do so, Bettis will fly to Colorado a week from today to establish a plan. He’ll have a blood test and CT scan on Monday.

This article has much, much more than an update on Bettis's baseball plans though. Rosenthal spoke with Bettis's wife and father, and he also checked in with Jeff Bridich, who recalls meeting with Bettis for the first time after Bridich and the Rockies drafted him in 2010. Read this, and you will not doubt that Bettis will return this season. And you will not doubt that it's going to be an incredible sight.

Baseball’s Toughest (and Easiest) Schedules So Far | FanGraphs Baseball

Eno Sarris uses one of my favorite strength of competition statistics, Baseball Prospectus's oppRPA+, to rank the teams with the strongest and weakest schedules in baseball. It's a park adjusted metric that weighs a team's quality of opposition based on previous results. It works like wRC+, where 100 is average.

Based on this evaluation, the Rockies have faced competition that is very close to league average on the whole. It comes out to 98.8. But that's a meeting in the middle based on the strength of pitching and offenses they've seen. According to this view, the Rockies have faced below league average pitching (94), but above league average hitting (103.6). I would have guessed the opposite because the Rockies have been winning on the strength of their pitching, while the hitting hasn't gotten going until recently.

Mark Reynolds' resurgence has helped put Rockies back on playoff path | Sporting News

Add this one to the growing pile of Rockies-centric articles from national outlets. Keep 'em coming! This one is about Mark Reynolds and his odd late-career reinvention at the plate. Author Max Wildstein also notes that Reynolds has caused a minor roster crunch since he returned that will only get crunchier when David Dahl comes back.

Rockies pitchers are bunting better, and Charlie Blackmon is reaping the rewards | The Denver Post

This is one of two articles from yesterday about the Rockies pitchers ability to bunt well. The Rockies currently lead the league with sacrifice bunts from pitchers, and Patrick Saunders suggests that it has played a factor in Blackmon's high RBI total thus far. Credit should also go to the players who hit before the pitcher, because if they don't get on base with one or zero outs, the pitchers wouldn't have anybody to sacrifice over.

Rockies pitchers are doing the little things needed to win ballgames | BSN Rockies

This is the other article about Rockies pitchers at the plate. Ben Karp also discusses the defense of Rockies pitchers, as well as how well they control the running game.

How a fastball happy pitcher has tamed Coors Field (so far) | The Score

Jesse Spector dives into Antonio Senzatela’s simple recipe for success so far: throw a lot of fastballs, and make sure they go where you want them to. Perhaps what comes across most from Senzatela is just how unintimidated he is by pitching at Coors Field. Ultimately, Senzatela told Spector, “it’s the same baseball.”

Arenado on team success: We are proving people wrong | ESPN Video

Nolan Arenado spoke with ESPN's Scott Van Pelt about the Rockies' great start to 2017. The Rockies were one of the most popular dark horse picks prior to the season, to the point where it was no longer clear whether or not the label actually fit, but hardly anybody was picking the Rockies to be as good as they've played so far.