De La Rosa looking to be leader of Rockies' rotation
ST. LOUIS -- Now would be a good time for left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to give the Rockies stability. But De La Rosa has not won in four starts since July 5, and in his last two starts he has coughed up 12 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings.
De La Rosa's last start, Monday against the Cubs, featured a stunning disappearance of command. After three spotless innings, De La Rosa walked the first two batters of the fourth, then gave up hits to five of the last seven batters and was out of the game with two out. The performance raised concerns that a cut on his left middle finger that has hampered him much of the season was the cause, but that wasn't the case.
"I don't know what happened," De La Rosa said. "I tried to throw everything in the middle and let it work, but I lost my command and started making a lot of mistakes. I was thinking too much and tried to do too much, and it put more pressure on me. But I'm better than the way I'm pitching right now."
In the first year of a two-year, $25 million deal, De La Rosa, 34, is charged with setting a course for the starting rotation. After recovering from an early-season groin strain and being hampered by the cut, De La Rosa did just that, when he went 6-1 and the team was 8-1 from May 16 to July 5. He hopes to return to solid pitching when he faces the Cardinals on Saturday night at Busch Stadium.
By Saturday, the Rockies will be coming out of Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline and should have some idea of the franchise's future course. The possibility always exists of an unexpected deal before the Deadline, a waiver deal afterward or even something this offseason, but all indications are De La Rosa will return for the final year of his contract in 2016 and lead a rotation that could be inexperienced.
Righty and 2012 Draft pick Eddie Butler already is in the rotation, and 2013 top pick righty Jon Gray is completing his apprenticeship. Righties Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Lyles have Major League experience, but by next year they'll be trying to stay healthy after two injury-plagued years, and righty Chad Bettis will be in his second year as a starter. It's possible by next season that righty Jeff Hoffman, the Blue Jays' 2014 top pick, could be showing what the Rockies received in the Troy Tulowitzki trade.
As long as De La Rosa is around, he'll need to help such a staff through early ups and downs.
"I don't have too much left [on the contract], so I've got to do my best to help the team," De La Rosa said. "I know we've got a lot of talent, and we've still got two months left this season to finish strong, then we'll see. You never know what will happen."
• Rockies manager Walt Weiss watched with interest and pride Wednesday night, when Tulowitzki homered and doubled twice in his Blue Jays debut.
"I was watching it live before we took off [from Chicago] yesterday," Weiss said. "It was exciting. I'm really happy for him. It's a tough situation to be in. The expectations were so high. You're going to a new team and you want to make a good first impression. He went above and beyond that."
• Weiss said new shortstop Jose Reyes, the veteran acquisition in the Tulowitzki trade, should adjust easily to the Rockies' frequent use of extreme shifts. The Jays shifted often.