Rafael Betancourt walked down the clubhouse hallway without a limp, the most obvious sign that he wasn't going on the disabled list. His right groin required only an anti-inflammatory injection, and after two days of rest he should return to his closer role for Colorado at San Francisco. For all the understandable hand-wringing about the rotation, the bullpen remains a huge reason the Rockies are relevant as they tiptoe toward June. The Rockies' relievers own a 2.84 ERA, sixth-best in baseball and fourth in the National League. Only the Astros have logged more innings than the Rockies' 164-plus. Think about that a minute. Colorado's bullpen is working more than any other club with a winning record, and remains effective. Whether efficiency will follow with this type of time card is a fair and chilling question, but the performance has been remarkable. Which brings us back to Betancourt. The Rockies have enough depth to absorb his absence — Rex Brothers and his 0.42 ERA delivered the save Wednesday — but disruptions are unpredictable. The last three outs, from a psychological standpoint, are a challenge. There are few equivalents in sports, save for the field-goal kicker on a last-second try. Closers live in contrasts. Black. White. Win or loss. Betancourt fits because he's good — 10-for-10 saves, 1.56 ERA — and accountable. He makes the other pieces of the bullpen fit. He has dealt with the groin issue since he tore the muscle in 2009. Tuesday's setback wasn't serious, just swelling around the scar tissue. So Betancourt, as he has done many times before, will resume his role as a finisher. Stats provide objectivity, but Betancourt's toughness creates a culture of high expectations for the entire bullpen.
Rockies' Rafael Betancourt should return to closer's role soon
Denver Post | May 23