When a player has a limited amount of talent, but goes out on the field and battles every single pitch, it is easy to cheer for them. When they fail there is always the feeling that they were doing their best. When they succeed it is a testament to their hard work and passion.
When a player has all the talent in the world, but fails to produce results, the feeling is that of frustration.
Jorge De La Rosa was the second option for the first six weeks of the 2009 season.
While flashes of greatness would come out, there was always a feeling that the lefty would lose it at some point. He was always prone to the big inning, which always would come at the most inopportune time in the game. There was never any confidence from the team that he would be able to do his job and keep his team in the ball game.
It was evident with De La Rosa on the mound that despite having good stuff, if he did not get a call from an umpire, or if he gave up a hit on a good pitch, the confidence would go away. De La Rosa would have a look on his face like he did not belong in the big leagues, as if he was defeated.
When De La Rosa’s confidence went away, so did his mechanics. It was easy to spot that he would start rushing and his weight would get out in front of his arm, causing him to elevate his pitches.
The lefty appears to have left his old self in the past.
Over his last six starts De La Rosa has picked up six wins and has been pitching deep into ball games. On Saturday he went 7-1/3 innings giving up only two runs on seven hits while striking out seven and walking none.
His pitches were masterful. He found the strike zone with his fastball and slider, which kept the Giant hitters off balance all night long. When he was removed from the game he had only thrown 97 pitches, 71 of which had been for strikes.
The difference is that De La Rosa seems confident on the mound. He has finally found a way to get comfortable and pitch with men on base. What it may come down to is that he feels that if he has one big inning that the offense will be able to pick him up and find a way to get back in the game.
The other theory is that he may have simply become comfortable pitching at the big league level. It is easy to forget that De La Rosa is just 26 years old and trying to find himself as a Major League pitcher. Either way, he is finding ways to win ball games and do so in an incredible fashion.
De La Rosa has made the past six weeks very enjoyable to watch.
After the performance by De La Rosa, the Rockies are once again in first place in the Wild Card race one game ahead of the Giants and two games in from of the Cubs.
The Rockies take on the Giants in the rubber game of the series tomorrow at 1:10 pm. The game will be broadcast on FSN Rocky Mountain and 850 KOA on the radio side.