SALT LAKE CITY—In one major area, Chad Bettis’ 63-pitch rehab start for the Albuquerque Isotopes on Sunday night was a success.
“It feels a lot better,” a smiling Bettis said of his curve ball, which operated at 71-73 mph and induced several awkward swings from the Salt Lake Bees’ lineup in a 9-8 win for the Isotopes. “It was something I really wanted to have be a big step here because the first two outings, it wasn’t good at all. So the fact I was confident in it and the fact that it was consistent in the movement I wanted was huge.”
Overall, the line didn’t look great for Bettis, who allowed three runs on six hits in 2 2⁄3 innings, striking out four batters and issuing a pair of walks. But he threw 40 strikes as opposed to just 23 balls and there was really only one pitch that was truly squared up, resulting in a third-inning double off the bat of Kaleb Cowart that ate up Jordan Patterson at first base. Bettis did get behind in some counts, though, and wasn’t able to command his fastball as well as he could have.
Part of that, Bettis admitted, had to do with trying to harness the movement on his mix of 88-92 mph fastballs.
“They took some good pitches, as well,” Bettis said. “But I think this was a learning step in the whole process. I’m just ready. I feel good to get back out there five days from now.”
As for what’s next on the agenda for the 28-year-old right-hander who is working his way back from testicular cancer, it’s simple.
“Execution, really,” Bettis quipped. “We’re starting to get pretty close here, so really it’s just gonna be refined to executing each pitch.”
- Albuquerque’s lefty-heavy lineup didn’t have any problems against the southpaw Lamb, who—by the way—pitched seven innings of one-run ball against the big league Rockies in a start last season. Raimel Tapia, David Dahl, Ryan McMahon, Jordan Patterson, and Michael Tauchman went a combined 8-for-10 with four singles, two doubles, and two homers off of Lamb.
- Dahl hit a high, long home run to right field to start the scoring for the Isotopes, who batted around in each of the first two innings en route to an early 9-1 lead that nearly evaporated. Dahl finished with a pair of hits and struck out twice.
- With the exception of the second inning, the ‘Topes allowed at least one run in every inning until the seventh, when Austin House kept the Bees off the board. With the Albuquerque pitching staff bleeding runs, House wound up finishing the game with three scoreless innings and threw 47 pitches, working around a pair of walks and three singles while striking out four. The 26-year-old right-hander owns a 2.23 ERA in 48 1⁄3 innings on the season.