|Jorge De La Rosa doesn't get the credit he deserves.|
The Rockies called up the first baseman on Tuesday and he made an impact in his first start on Wednesday. In the bottom of the 6th inning, with the Rockies trailing 2-1, Royals starter Danny Duffy got two quick outs, and nearly three, but Nolan Arenado reached base on a throwing error. After a base hit and a walk, the Rockies suddenly had the bases loaded.
That is when McBride made his mark. He drilled the first pitch he saw from Duffy over the left-center field wall. The only question was whether it was going to have enough height to get out of the park. It did, and suddenly the Rockies had a 5-2 lead.
While McBride got the Gatorade bath, Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa slowly walked up the Coors Field tunnel to the clubhouse with very little fanfare. The club's ace did what he is so accustomed to. He took the mound at Coors Field and did what he seems to do every time he pitches from the most feared spot in the Major Leagues. He won, and he was dominant.
De La Rosa went eight strong innings, giving up just two runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out three.
For whatever reason, people don't want to believe that De La Rosa is as good as he actually is. He takes criticism for the amount of time he takes to deliver each pitch, and when he gives up a run, the Rockies fan base seems to act like he can't throw a strike and that he has no chance. The ironic thing is, if the Rockies could get similar results from every pitcher, fans would gladly take the extra amount of time between pitches.
While De La Rosa possesses a mid-90's fastball, something that is rare from the left-hand side, but maybe what keeps people from having faith in De La Rosa is that he is unconventional. With a fastball in the mid-90's and a change up that falls off of the table, it feels like he should be getting strike outs. That just isn't De La Rosa's game.
What De La Rosa does possess, however, is something that is an equal tool to the ability to strike people out on command is the uncanny ability to induce a ground ball double play. Fans may see De La Rosa deal with what seems to be a base runner every inning. However, in his tool belt is the handy double play ball that wipes out the opposition's rally.
On Wednesday, De La Rosa induced four double play ground balls in his eight innings. While having runners on base is never a good thing, De La Rosa is able to find his way out of trouble far more often than not.
The reality is simple, De La Rosa provides the Rockies with a chance to win the game every time he takes the mound. He probably is going to give up a run or two, but there is a certain level of confidence that the team seems to play with when he is on the mound. For an offense, it is easier to play relaxed baseball and wait for the best pitches to hit when it is clear that the pitcher on the mound for that club is going to keep them in the game. Instead of feeling like the offense is going to have to score runs in nearly every inning to stay in the game, they know that scratching out a few runs and waiting for something good to happen will usually get the job done.
When an offense plays relaxed baseball and doesn't press, suddenly good things start to happen.
One of the bright spots for the Rockies in a miserable season has been De La Rosa's continued success. However, it might turn into a very dark spot for the club this offseason. While the Rockies had a chance to offer the lefty an extension before heading into the season, they chose not to. They were comfortable allowing him to enter the final season of his contract and take the chance that De La Rosa wouldn't have a great season, or that they would be able to get him to come back for a cheap contract.
It is no secret that De La Rosa loves pitching at Coors Field. It is no secret that he loves pitching for the Rockies. The problem is, instead of the club's front office rewarding him for his dedication, they seem bent on taking advantage of him. It seems that they believe that they can get a deal and save some money because their ace lefty doesn't want to leave.
The problem is, what if De La Rosa does leave? He is a free agent after the season. What would the starting rotation of this Rockies team look like without him? The Rockies, who simply cannot allow themselves to get worse on the mound in the offseason, should bite the bullet and give De La Rosa what he is worth.
The Rockies lefty is only 33-years-old, which means he presumably has plenty of life left in his arm. A three-year deal doesn't feel like it would be out of the realm of what De La Rosa could expect on the open market. If someone offers that, and they will, the Rockies are going to be in a tough spot. They can either pay him what he is worth, or they can feel the wrath of a fan base that is already on edge.
The reality is, it is time for the Rockies to acknowledge how good De La Rosa is. The club continues to banter back and forth about what it takes to pitch at Coors Field, yet they have a guy who is phenomenal at it on their team and they seem to ignore it.
It is time for the Rockies to acknowledge that they need De La Rosa. They have a guy who gives them a chance every fifth day. He should get paid what he is worth.
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