Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Despite Rockies Loss, De La Rosa's Improvement Is Encouraging

The Colorado Rockies broke a four game losing streak last night, battling an injury to Franklin Morales, and a horrible fifth inning.

Jorge De La Rosa had the unenviable task of taking on Dan Haren of the Diamondbacks. Haren has been nearly perfect in this short season, but coming into today had exactly two runs put up by his offense to support him.

The young Rockies pitcher did everything in his power to give Colorado it's first series win since the last time they were in Arizona two weeks ago.

Despite having all the tools necessary to be a successful big league pitcher, De La Rosa has struggled mightily with the mental aspect of the game. He has a few good innings, then when he gets into trouble it snowballs, and before you know it, the opposition has put a crooked number on the scoreboard.

The last two starts, despite both being losses, have been extremely encouraging for De La Rosa. Today he took a shutout into the seventh inning.

The seventh inning was a struggle for the lefty, as he gave up consecutive base hits to Chris Young and Chris Snyder. Then a base hit by pinch hitter Ryan Roberts gave the D-Backs their first run. De La Rosa battled and struck out Stephen Drew and his day was finished.

Jason Grilli came in and walked in a run on an extremely questionable call before getting out of the inning.

For the game De La Rosa's line read like this; two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and four walks over 6-2/3 innings. He lowered his ERA to 3.78.

Last Friday, De La Rosa battled against the Dodgers, and although he worked with more men on the bases, he held the Dodgers scoreless over 5-1/3 innings, striking out five and walking four.

Both starts came in a losing effort, but it seems that De La Rosa may be turning the corner. The Rockies, who have seen Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez struggle early, are desperate for a quality pitcher at the back end of their rotation.

If De La Rosa, who throws 94 MPH from the left side and has a biting slider, is beginning to look like he has what it takes to harness his talent. If he can continue to discover how to get outs when things are not necessarily going his way, the Rockies could be in very good shape.

Eventually Cook and Jimenez will be OK. With Jason Marquis proving that he is a solid number three starter, and De La Rosa proving that he is ready to assume the fourth spot, the rotation could very well be taking shape.

It may not be the best rotation in the National League West, not with talent like Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain in San Francisco, Jake Peavy and Chris Young in San Diego, Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw in L.A. or Brandon Webb and Haren in Arizona. But with the lineup that the Rockies have, they may be in a good position to go out and win a lot of games and prove that they are serious about contending in this division.

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