It was an emotional return to the mound for Chad Bettis on Monday night.
Bettis had been an anchor of the Colorado Rockies lineup last season leading the team in wins and innings pitched, but had not seen major league action yet this year after being diagnosed with testicular cancer last November. He had surgery, and later chemotherapy after the disease spread to his lymph nodes.
But in his return to Coors Field on Monday he was back to his old self, pitching seven scoreless innings while giving up six hits and striking out two. Bettis said after the game that keeping his emotions in check was, understandably, one of the toughest parts of the night. "You try to get your mind clear because of the task at hand, and then to be hit with that emotion, it was unbelievable," Bettis said. "Walking in, it was deep breaths."
Before the game, the Rockies sent out a tweet expressing their excitement to have Bettis back on the mound, and how his return was bigger than baseball.
THE ONLY SCORE THAT MATTERS TONIGHT
Chad Bettis: ☝️
Cancer: 0 pic.twitter.com/Y4wV3JDAi9
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) August 15, 2017
In a nice show of sportsmanship and league-wide camaraderie, teams from across the league replied with a show of support for Bettis and the Rockies.
The game itself became a pitcher's duel between Bettis and Julio Teheran of the Braves, scoreless through the seven innings that Bettis pitched. But the Rockies broke through with three runs in the 8th, and while Bettis wasn't credited with the win, Colorado got the victory and now find themselves with a five game cushion in the race for an NL Wild Card spot.
Bettis is scheduled to make his next start on Saturday at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.