Once upon a time, there was a 28-year-old lefty who had been essentially a journeyman in his career to date who found a new level of success in his first full season in Colorado However, despite the flashes of brilliance, there were still the rough outings that led to Rockies fans almost separating him into two players, referring to a "Good" and a "Bad" version of him.
That is an excellent description of what Chris Rusin in 2015, but it also describes Jorge De La Rosa in 2009. De La Rosa was a better pitcher in 2009 than Rusin has been this season, a 4.32 ERA and 1.38 WHIP compared to Rusin's 5.14 ERA and 1.58 WHIP, though the difference in xFIP is not as great, with 2009 Jorge holding an edge with his 3.71 FIP to Rusin's 4.00.
However, Rusin has had a higher percentage of quality starts this season than De La Rosa did in 2009 (though they should really change "quality start" to something like "decent start" or "acceptable start"), with 11 of his 18 starts, 61 percent, qualifying for the stat, whereas De La Rosa had just 17 quality starts of 32, or 53 percent, in 2009.
The issue with Rusin that did not plague De La Rosa six years ago is that the lows have been very low. Of the 63 earned runs he has allowed this season, 36 have come in just five starts. In those five starts, Rusin has a 16.76 ERA in 19⅓ innings, allowing 60 hits, nine of them home runs, walking seven and striking out 14. In his other 15 appearances, Rusin has posted a 2.67 ERA in 91 innings, allowing 84 hits, seven home runs, while walking 23 and striking out 60.
De La Rosa did have a group of six starts in which he allowed 40 runs, posting a 15.88 ERA in 22⅔ innings, giving up 44 hits and 12 walks while striking out 21, compared to a 2.77 ERA in the rest of the season. Given that Rusin has thrown 75 fewer innings than De La Rosa did six years ago, that group of ugly starts is hurting him more, even though the rest of their resumes are fairly equal.
"Bad Rusin" was certainly on display in the Rockies' 11-4 loss to the Padres Wednesday at Petco Park, as he allowed six runs on eight hits in three innings of work, walking one and striking out one. He also served up home runs to Matt Kemp in the first inning and Jedd Gyorko in the third.
The Rockies bullpen was not much better, allowing five runs in five innings. The culprits were Simon Castro and Jason Gurka, who allowed all five of those runs while getting just three outs. Castro was poor in particular, allowing hits to all four batters that he faced, three of whom scored.
Offensively, the Rockies got RBI singles from Justin Morneau and DJ LeMahieu in the first inning that brought home Jose Reyes and Carlos Gonzalez, respectively, giving the Rockies a 2-0 lead.
The Rockies' other two runs came in the fourth, when Dustin Garneau hit the first home run of his big league career, a two-run shot against Padres starter James Shields, cutting Colorado's deficit at the time to 6-4. The Rockies probably should have scored more than the four runs they did against Shields in his six innings of work, as he allowed eight hits and walked four, but they left nine men on base in the game.
The game may have been a loss, but if "Bad Rusin" can go the way of "Bad Jorge," the Rockies may have found themselves an asset in what has been a disappointing 2015 season.