Jorge De La Rosa was fantastic in tonight's 7-1 victory over the Dodgers, tossing 7.1 scoreless innings in a refreshing start given his season thus far. He allowed just two hits and struck out three, but the most encouraging part of tonight's performance was his ability to throw strikes when needed and avoid walking a single batter. The Rockies pitching staff has been awful in that department this year, but they were able to pitch effectively and issued just a single walk.
The game started out on a bit of a shaky footing, as Enrique Hernandez hit a leadoff double before Jimmy Rollins reached on a Daniel Descalso throwing error, but De La Rosa got out of the inning without further fanfare. De La Rosa then faced just 18 batters over the next six innings and looked totally dominant, getting batter after batter to harmlessly groundout. He'd get an out in the eighth before being replaced by Rafael Betancourt.
After averaging just four innings per start, De La Rosa came through with a terrific outing. Going 7.1 innings gave the bullpen some rest, and they were called upon to face just nine batters. JDLR was able to get nearly every batter he faced to put the ball on the ground, finishing with a fine GB% of 71.4 for the night. Obviously, that's not a rate we should expect to see every game, but anything approaching that figure will result in a number of outs with the defense we're normally able to field. Although there were two errors tonight — a rare throwing error from Arenado and another from Descalso — the infield defense is typically lights out. Balls on the ground will result in outs more often than not.
De La Rosa was replaced by Betancourt in the eighth, who got Uribe to ground out before whiffing Ellis. Scott Oberg came in to wrap the game up, but had a somewhat odd inning. He struck out three, but also walked a batter and hit two, all of which combined to allow a run.
So, all in all a good night for the Rockies' pitchers. We need more performances like the one we got from De La Rosa, as Rockies' starters had thrown just 158.2 innings heading into the evening's game through 32 starts. That figure puts the Rockies in dead last, far behind the Orioles' total of 179.1 innings pitched by starters. Rockies' starters also have the worst ERA in baseball. If De La Rosa's outing is a sign of things to come, it'd be a welcome change.
On offense, the Rockies' bats were hot and they piled seven runs on the Dodgers, including one in the first inning that proved to be enough to ruin Zack Greinke's streak. The Rockies had a mini home run derby as well, with CarGo, Descalso, and Arenado each going deep. CarGo's got his average about .200, which I guess is nice. Descalso and Rosario each went 2-for-4, while CarGo went 2-for-5. The Rockies continued to strike out tons; Blackmon whiffed twice, LeMahieu three times, and one each from CarGo, Stubbs, Arenado, Rosario, and McKenry. Sergio Santos struck out four in the eighth, but also allowed three runs oddly enough thanks to the dropped ball rule.
Unfortunately, Corey Dickerson left the game with an injury so Drew Stubbs got to see a decent bit of time. You'd think he'd be eager to show everyone what he can do, but nope. Stubbs went 0-for-3, struck out once, and owns a nifty batting average of .116. Descalso went 2-for-2 and has an equally stellar average of .167. There're so many reasons why not having our starters really stinks, but having three guys out there with averages about .200 or lower is going to hurt unless they can turn it around in a big way as it puts a big whole into the lineup.
Fingers crossed Tulo and Dickerson won't be out for too long, as their presence is instrumental to the team winning. The Rockies will look to take the series tomorrow afternoon.