Monday, June 30, 2014

Jorge De La Rosa and Colorado Rockies offense avoids 4-game sweep to Brewers

If the Colorado Rockies are having a tough season, don't tell Jorge De La Rosa.

The lefty picked up his eighth win of the season on Sunday, nailing down a win after his offense gave him a three run cushion in the 1st inning.

Jorge De La Rosa always gives the Rockies a fighting chance.
For De La Rosa, the outing wasn't particularly special. Frankly, the Rockies ace has had a few outings in 2014 that seemed like he had to work a little harder to get the outs. A few more times this year, De La Rosa hasn't had the smooth sailing-type of outings that become commonplace in 2013.

However, oftentimes, outings like Sunday's are the best benchmark for how good a pitcher really is. De La Rosa's line doesn't look phenomenal. He gave up four runs on four hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked two. Four runs in six innings isn't a great outing, but there is something different with De La Rosa.

He knows how to get outs. Even when the tough innings come around, there isn't a fear that things are going to snowball out of control on him. He might give up a run or two, but he is going to pitch well enough to keep his team in the game. Really, that is all an offense can ask for.

On Sunday De La Rosa fell victim to Ryan Braun. The Brewers pumped-up slugger has been a thorn in De La Rosa's side for a long time. In the 4th inning he got him for a home run to right-center. In the 6th he hit a double and scored.

The 6th inning started to get out of control after a wild pitch and hit batsman in the same at-bat by Aramis Ramirez, then another wild pitch, but De La Rosa was able to settle in, getting a ground out that scored only one run, and then a strike out to end the inning. It could have been much worse, but De La Rosa trusted his stuff and got the outs.

On Sunday, a great outing wasn't what was needed, as the Rockies brought their bats to the ballpark with them. Every starter, including De La Rosa, recorded at least one hit. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki went 3-for-5 and Corey Dickerson continued his emergence, hitting his 13th double of the season and notching another hit on top of that, as well as two RBIs.

However it came, the Rockies were in desperate need of a win on Sunday. It didn't matter if the Brewers had to forfeit the game because the entire clubhouse came down with food poisoning. The way things have been going for the Rockies, a win was the only thing that would keep fans believing that there is even a reason to watch.

June has been absolutely dreadful for this team. Between injuries and simply sloppy baseball, the Rockies have seen their postseason hopes go from high, to hurting, to unrealistic, to laughable. It may be yet another season in which the Rockies are playing for next year, but wins are wins, and increasing the morale in the clubhouse can't be a bad thing.

For the Rockies, the things to look forward to are the emergence of players like Dickerson and Tyler Matzek. Can those guys be key cogs in this team becoming an actual threat, or are they just the latest names that will fade away after looking so promising. Games in seasons like this aren't meaningless. They are the times when guys get their dress rehearsals. They can get their feet wet at the big league level and get comfortable in their roles. If they can figure out the ropes at this level, they can turn into impact players for the next few seasons.

For the Rockies, the future isn't 2014, it is at some later date. When that will arrive, fans can only hope for. However, the win on Sunday for the Rockies gives this team something to build on, and it seems that when Jorge De La Rosa starts games, the team has an easier time winning them.

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