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Jorge wins the battle of the roses, Colorado Rockies hang on for win

David Martin Avatar
July 6, 2015

 

Jorge De La Rosa did what he has done 1,000 times. He struck out a bunch of Diamondbacks. In fact, while recording his 1,000th career strikeout, De La Rosa pitched the Colorado Rockies out of their losing streak and gave them some momentum.

The Rockies bullpen predictably had fans biting their nails late in the game, but ultimately the early lead that the Rockies built off of the Diamondbacks De La Rosa, Rubby, held up and allowed the Rockies to avoid the embarrassment of being swept out of the desert.

The Rockies got a three-run homer from Troy Tulowitzki before a single out had been recorded, and Carlos Gonzalez helped give the Rockies some breathing room in the 6th inning with a two-run blast in the 6th inning. The six runs that the Rockies scored were barely enough, as the bullpen once again allowed the Diamondbacks to crawl all the way back into the game.

Tulo and CarGo were the offensive heroes for the Rockies, but, as is the case seemingly every fifth day, Jorge De La Rosa was the real hero for the Rockies. The ace of the club, the best pitcher in team history, did what he does. He threw six innings, giving up two runs on just five hits. He struck out six and walked two.

As De La Rosa does in every game that he pitches, he faced some adversity and minimized the damage. In the bottom of the 2nd, De La Rosa had a chance to give the early lead that the offense got for him right back to the home team. He gave up a solo home run to Yasmany Tomas to lead off the inning. He then walked Welington Castillo before getting Aaron Hill to line out for the first out of the inning. David Peralta then drilled a double to left, but Castillo was forced to stay at third. With one out and two runs in scoring position, it was a familiar situation for the Rockies ace. After a long injury delay to home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth, De La Rosa could have lost focus. Instead, he got Chris Owings to ground out to third, keeping Castillo at third base, then another ground out from his namesake to end the inning.

De La Rosa is an ace not because he is unhitable, and not because he blows it passed every batter he faces. He is an ace because he doesn’t allow a bad inning to turn into a terrible inning. He is good enough to focus and trust his stuff enough to stop the bleeding when the opposition gets to him. There might not be a better pitcher in the league at wiggling off of the hook as consistently as De La Rosa.

Raving over De La Rosa is easy. He provides plenty to talk positively about. However, the way the bullpen nearly lost the game for the team is something that must be addressed. While Walt Weiss‘ use of the pen is as questionable as it gets, it must be acknowledged that he simply cannot win with the talent he is required to pull from.

The Rockies bullpen might be the worst pen this team has ever had, and that is saying something. Beyond John Axford, there simply isn’t a single dependable member of the relief corp at this point. Rafael Betancourt has had his day, but he has genuinely struggled in 2015. LaTroy Hawkins is well past his prime and Scott Oberg has supreme talent, but looks like a different pitcher one day to the next. To even mention Boone Logan and Yohan Flande is an embarrassment to relief pitchers everywhere.

Beyond the poor bullpen management, Weiss also seems to struggle in obvious pinch-hit situations. On Sunday, with Nolan Arenado taking a day off, Weiss allowed Daniel Descalso to step to the plate with one-out and a bases loaded situation. With the Rockies only up by two runs, a base hit would have been a huge benefit for a team that has won only one game in a week. It was a move that a 10-year-old could have made. Instead, Descalso and his near-Mendoza batting average hit into a double play and ended the Rockies threat.

Decisions like that are where Rockies fans are losing their faith in Weiss. With the removal of Dan O’Dowd and Bill Geivett, many people were willing to give Weiss another chance. It was clear that Weiss didn’t get much of a chance to manage the way that he wanted to with the dynamic duo running the show. With O’Dowd and Geivett gone, Weiss deserved a chance to show what he can do on his own.

However, Weiss hasn’t done much to show that he is a capable big league manager. He seems to over manage when he needs to let guys play, and under manage when an easy decision is ready to be made.

If the Rockies are serious about becoming a winner, either Weiss is going to have to get better soon, or the Rockies are going to have to make a tough decision and move on from their manager.

For the Rockies, a win on Sunday was much-needed. It ended a miserable road trip with a win and gives them a chance to start something good before the All-Star break. There is no contending in 2015, but the goal should be to finish around the .500 mark. That is a doable goal for the Rockies.

With De La Rosa healthy and leading the Rockies pitching staff, a win every fifth day is at least a possibility.

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