It is not that pitching has always been the Colorado Rockies Achilles’ heel. As an organization the Rockies have just simply always had to work differently with pitchers than other franchises. Pitching at altitude has mentally derailed many young Rockies prospects. Young, promising, pitchers have often been know to wilt under the unique circumstances of pitching at Coors Field. Jorge De La Rosa has not been one of those pitchers.
Since joining the Rockies in 2008, De La Rosa is 55- 36.This works out to a solid .615 win percentage on a team that has made the playoffs once during De La Rosa’s tenure in Colorado. Moreover in seven season in Denver, De La Rosa has posted two 16 win season. Even more impressive, De La Rosa last season went 10-1 at Coors with an amazing 2.76 ERA. This also included De La Rosa surrendering just 3 home runs at home in 81.2 innings pitched.
De La Rosa, over most of his tenure as a Rockie, has defied the baseball gods mandate that winning at Coors must rely on the barrel of a bat rather than the arm of a pitcher. He has even successfully come back from Tommy John surgery and a host of other nagging ailments.
Over De La Rosa’s time in Colorado, Rockies fans have seen the coming and going of potential aces, such as Ubaldo Jimenez and Greg Reynolds. Reynolds, the latter, was the second overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft and was considered to be a cornerstone of the Rockies for years to come. Reynolds now pitches for the Saitama Seibu Lions, a professional Japanese team. While Jimenez accomplished a great deal in a Rockies uniform, Rockies management ultimately lost confidence in him and refused to sign him to the long lucrative contract he desired.
While De La Rosa has never been as spectacular as Jimenez, he certainly has been better than Reynolds and his 55 career victories with the Rockies compares closely with Jimenez’s 58 victories while with the Rockies.
What’s the point to these arguments?
The point is that De La Rosa has not looked great in the early part of the 2014 season. His 9.69 ERA and 0-2 record in his first three starts have already led some fans to hit the panic button on De La Rosa’s 2014 season. This is certainly undeserved given De La Rosa’s usual slow starts to seasons. In 2013, while winning 16 games and posting a 3.49 ERA, De La Rosa was a mediocre 2-3 with a 4.18 ERA in April.
De La Rosa has proven to be a fairly consistent pitcher for an organization marked by constant pitching inconsistencies. If De La Rosa has earned anything from Rockies fans it should be their respect and patience. After starting 2013 in disappointing fashion, De La Rosa rebounded to go 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in the month of May.
Only time will tell if De La Rosa can return to his 2013 pitching form, but in the mean time cool and level heads must prevail when evaluating De La Rosa’s 2014 season. He’s earned that much.