Rockies starter Chad Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer and underwent surgery in November. He was declared cancer-free in January, but the cancer came back and he underwent chemotherapy. As a result, he missed the first half of the season. He began a rehab assignment last month and worked his way all the way back to Monday night, his 2017 debut and long-awaited return to the majors.
Bettis faced the Braves, holding them scoreless over seven innings. He yielded six hits, walked none, and struck out two on 90 pitches. Mike Dunn relieved Bettis to start the eighth inning.
There was a poignant moment captured in the dugout after the top of the seventh between Bettis and manager Bud Black. Via Nick Griffith of Fox 31 Denver:
Unfortunately for Bettis, his offense couldn’t provide him any run support. He did not factor in the decision, but the Rockies scored three runs in the eighth to win, 3-0.
Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has been better since returning from a stint in the minor leagues. Through June 21, he was hitting .171/.295/.378. Since then, he’s hitting .241/.327/.552. Problem is he’s still striking out a bunch. Entering Monday’s action, he had struck out 38 times in 98 plate appearances since being brought back up to the big leagues, and he had struck out in seven consecutive plate appearances.
Schwarber extended the streak to eight when he whiffed in his first at-bat of the night against Reds starter Asher Wojciechowski. Fortunately for him, Schwarber’s streak ended in the third inning when he was hit by a 3-2 Wojciechowski change-up.
Despite Schwarber’s two-week demotion, he still ranks 25th among all hitters (min. 350 PA) in total strikeouts at 114. His 31.6 percent strikeout rate ranks eighth in baseball.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has had a pretty good month and it’s not even halfway over. Entering Monday’s game against the Giants, Stanton had played in all 12 of his team’s games in August. He homered nine times, drove in 17 runs, and overall hit .356. Additoinally, Stanton came into Monday’s action having homered in each of his last four games.
Stanton made it five consecutive games with a homer on Monday, blasting a 2-0 Ty Blach fastball for a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. He’s the first Marlin to homer in five consecutive games. Stanton also took sole possession of the Marlins single-season record for homers in a season, passing Gary Sheffield’s 42 in 1996.
Along with the 43 round-trippers, Stanton has 92 RBI, 89 runs scored, and a .283/.373/.643 triple-slash line in 491 plate appearances. He’s now on pace for 60 home runs. The last player to hit 60-plus home runs in a season was Barry Bonds in 2001, when he slugged 73 of them.