On a night when five pitchers threw at least seven innings of shutout baseball, it was incredibly easy to fly under-the-radar, even if you were one of those five.
As the Colorado Rockies offense continued with their uncharacteristic lack of production (after last night, they’ve scored just seven times in the last four games), Jorge De La Rosa was able to get his team off their three-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres. De La Rosa was nearly unhittable against the Padres last night, allowing just one hit to go along with a single walk in seven scoreless innings. He needed just 89 pitches to retire the 22 batters he faced before Walt Weiss brought in Adam Ottavino to start the top of the eighth. De La Rosa deserves praise for the start he had last night, but what he has done the last month has been even more noteworthy.
After losing his first three decisions of the year to go along with an ERA of 7.58, Jorge De La Rosa has completely turned his season around. In five starts since April 16, De La Rosa is 5-0 with 2.03 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 31 innings pitched. Obviously, the 33 year-old lefty out of Mexico has been a huge part of the Rockies success this year.
With the Rockies leading the Major Leagues in jet about every offensive category (including hits, average, run, doubles, home runs, and RBIs, among others), it’s no surprise that the accomplishments of the pitching staff have gone unnoticed. A year after posting the worst ERA, the fewest quality starts, and the highest batting average against in the National League, the Rockies pitching staff has made tremendous strides this season to help get their team to second place in the NL West. This success has started with De La Rosa. The opening day starter and leader of the pitching staff, De La Rosa is the veteran of the rotation. Following his lead, younger pitchers like Juan Nicasio and Tyler Chatwood and newcomers like Jordan Lyles and Franklin Morales have shown just how efficient they can be in the big leagues.
After a successful (and, more importantly, healthy) season last year, De La Rosa is looking to build on that progression this year. After a tough start to the year, De La Rosa has shown that he his the true ace of this unexpectedly competitive batch of ballplayers. With the way their offense is producing, don’t be surprised to see the Rockies in playoff contention come September. If De La Rosa continues to pitch the way he did last night, this could be a special season for both him and the Colorado Rockies.