Tagged: Jorge De La Rosa

Rockies finally have starting rotation that sticks

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

The Rockies celebrated their 20th season of playing Major League Baseball this season.

This season is significant not only because of the milestone, but they finally found a starting rotation to build around.

It’s hard to believe, but that’s the case when the Rockies could have four starters achieving 10 victories this season.

Jhoulys Chacin earned his 13th win of the season last night after the Rockies’ 5-4 victory over the Giants at Coors Field. He pitched well again by giving up a run and a hit in seven innings.  He struck out nine, and this was the fourth start in a row he threw over 100 pitches.

With the way Chacin pitched since June, he is on pace to win 17 games. That’s impressive when a starter reaches that mark. That’s where he enters elite territory.

Jorge De La Rosa has 14 wins this season, and he is on pace to get 18 wins. If he had run support this season, he could have had 16 wins with a chance to have a 20-win season.

The Rockies knew Chacin and De La Rosa had the stuff to be effective. They were banking on them to anchor the staff. Still, no one knew they could pitch like elite pitchers. They certainly have by overpowering hitters.

For couple of Rockies to reach that number of wins, that is an accomplishment. It’s rare that the team has a pitcher having 15 or more wins. It’s something to be proud of for a franchise that has had a hard time developing pitchers.

It’s not only De La Rosa and Chacin that are doing well.

Juan Nicasio is on pace to win 12 games if he continues to throw quality starts as he has done since his start against the Dodgers on July 12. It would be surprising if he does not win at least 10 games when the season is over. He is good enough to get it done.

He always had the talent to pitch well. He can get hitters out by throwing fastball, but he is now throwing sliders, curveballs and breaking balls to get outs. He has been consistent in throwing secondary pitches since his start against the Dodgers.

He has been a great story, and if he keeps it up, he could be a mainstay in the rotation for the next few years along with De La Rosa and Chacin.

Tyler Chatwood has 7 wins, and with him being activated from the disabled list on Sunday, he has a chance to get to 10 wins as long as he is not affected from the injuries he had this season.

He was on track to get 13 wins this season before he was on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation several weeks ago.

Ever since Chatwood was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on May 18, he allowed two earned runs or less in 12 of his 14 starts. He also has won six starts during that period.

Like Nicasio, Chatwood figured out how to throw secondary pitches such as curveballs, breaking balls and sliders to get guys outs. That’s why both starters have been consistently good.

As good as those guys are, it’s about maintaining consistency for the next few years. That’s something the Rockies have to find out. It’s a challenge those guys have to deal with. Plus, those guys need to avoid having arm problems.

De La Rosa has been good for awhile. For him, it’s about staying healthy.

Chacin always had good stuff, but this is the first time he has taken the next step of being an elite starter after being inconsistent in recent years.

Nicasio and Chatwood need to sustain their success.

If Chacin, Nicasio and Chatwood can duplicate this season’s success, the Rockies are in good shape with their starting rotation for years to come.

Finding starters have been a challenge for the Rockies since they were born in 1993. Most of them never panned out. Free agents flopped, and young starters never had the confidence to pitch at Coors Field.

The Rockies finally found guys who know how to pitch at Coors Field. If nothing else, this should end the myth that it’s hard to pitch at Coors Field.

From watching De La Rosa, Chacin, Chatwood and Nicasio, they showed a pitcher can get hitters out by being crafty out on the mound. They don’t need to overpower hitters or bank on a call to get hitters out. They don’t need to overthink. They have to pitch.

It’s refreshing what these guys can do after years of watching pitchers fail for the Rockies since they did not have the confidence to pitch.

It’s safe to say the Rockies solve their riddle of fielding a good rotation.

It only took 20 years.

Contact me or follow me on Twitter: @TalkinRockies

Rockies should stop with pitch count limit

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

The Rockies do many things that make it easy for anyone to complain.

They hired a rookie manager who does not make decisions in Walt Weiss.

They create a roster that features too many nice guys that show no emotion.

They are at it again by instituting this stupid pitch count rule for their starters, which they can’t go past 100 pitches no matter how much of a groove they are in during the game or if they pitch well for seven or eight innings.

This comes after they came up with a rule last year about the starters not going past 75 pitches. That rule came as a way for the starters to be in a position to succeed.

That didn’t work out in the end. The starters struggled, and the Rockies continued to lose games. In the end, Jim Tracy decided to resign as Rockies manager rather than taking orders by the organization on managing a ballgame.

Not many managers want to be told how a team should be managed by Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd, but first-year Rockies manager Walt Weiss was okay with it. He’s only doing it, so that he can gain experience of being a manager in the majors.

How else can one explain Weiss not letting his starters go past 99 pitches?

Jhoulys Chacin’s night was done after he threw 98 pitches in the seventh inning last night in the Rockies’ 4-2 loss to the Marlins at Coors Field. While it’s great he pitched seven innings last night, he could have gone one more inning.

Weiss used Josh Outman in the eighth inning with the Marlins holding on to a 3-2 lead , and to no one’s surprise, the Rockies middle reliever’s night was over after he gave up a home run to Giancarlo Stanton and a hit to Logan Morrison.  The game was over for all intents and purposes, too.

This whole pitch count is stupid, and it’s time for the Rockies to abolish that rule about a starter being done after 99 pitches.

Jorge De La Rosa, Tyler Chatwood and Jhoulys Chacin are good enough to pitch past 100 pitches and throw for seven or eight innings. It’s not like they are Juan Nicasio, who tends to struggle in the middle innings.

The Rockies are making them look like wimps by not going deep in games. It’s a good bet those guys are not happy about going past 100 pitches. These guys have pride, and they want to pitch seven or eight innings a start. If they throw 98 pitches in the seventh inning, they would love to go for a complete game.

No starter likes to be taken out of a game, especially if he is having a great night.

The rule makes sense if the Rockies have mediocre starters, but they don’t.

The problem with having starters go on a pitch count is the relievers such as Edgmer Escalona, Wilton Lopez , Adam Ottavino and Outman get hit by being used everyday. There’s no way Weiss would use Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers in the seventh and eighth inning respectively unless the Rockies take a lead or if the game is tied late.

It does not make sense to keep destroying the arms of middle relievers. Escalona and Ottavino could develop into good relievers for years to come if they are used properly, but if they pitch every game, their arm will be burned out.

No one is saying the starters should throw 120 pitches a start. That’s stupidity, especially if these guys are tired by then.

That said, no Rockie starter is going to fail by going past 99 pitches unless his name is Nicasio or Drew Pomearnz.

Starters become good the more they go deep in games. Their confidence is at an all-time high when they go eight or nine innings. It should be a good thing if De La Rosa, Chatwood and Chacin throw at least 110 pitches per start if the situation dictates it.

Too many times, teams are fixated with pitch counts. It’s hard to understand why.

Sure, teams worry about starters getting hurt, but they can get hurt even with a limit on their pitch counts. There’s no magic potion in keeping a starter healthy other than praying he is not hurt.

With the Rockies, they are worried about their starters failing once they get past 99 pitches. Their starting pitching deserves credit than that.

It would be nice if Weiss would rebel by keeping Chatwood, De La Rosa and Chacin on the mound once they get past 99 pitches, but that’s not his nature. He is going to go by what the organization tells him to do, so that he can stay on as a Rockies manager and get his managerial experience.

It’s hard to believe the rookie manager likes this idea.

What can he do if the organization is stubborn about this stupid pitch count philosophy?

The Rockies can talk about how it’s working with De La Rosa, Chatwood and Chacin being effective this season, but one has to think it’s because those three are competent starters, not because they go past 99 pitches.

It’s ridiculous why the Rockies do this, but then again, it’s hard to figure out what they do when it comes to operating a baseball team.

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Winnable division is doable for Rockies

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

It does not look good at first glance.

The Rockies finished the pre-All-Star break with a 46-50 record.

Despite being 4 1/2 games out, it would be hard to take any team with a losing record seriously as a playoff team.

That’s what logic tells us anyway.

With that said, the NL West is a mediocre division at best. Not one team stands out. That’s why the Rockies are contenders in spite of themselves.

It’s on the Rockies to take advantage of the opportunity to win in a division that is weak. They don’t get opportunities like that often. It’s hard to think this is going to be the case every year. The Giants, Dodgers and Diamondbacks are not going to be mediocre year in and year out.

Shame on the Rockies if they don’t win the division. This season would be a failure if they don’t win it.

The talent is there to win the division.

The Rockies have three good starters that produce quality starts in Jorge De La Rosa, Tyler Chatwood and Jhoulys Chacin. That’s a good foundation to win the division.

They are not in the class of Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey and Adam Wainwright, but they are efficient. Efficient can do this season in winning the NL West.

De La Rosa is 9-5 with a 3.21 ERA.  He could have won 12 games if he had run support this season, and if he had 12 wins, he would have been an All-Star.

De La Rosa has been consistent all season when it comes to throwing strikes and putting on a good performance. He makes pitching at Coors Field easy by getting out of jams and getting ahead of the count. He finds a way to get outs when he is in a jam.  He uses all of his pitches to get outs such as fastball, slider and curveball. He knows what he is doing out there.

Chatwood has been a revelation since he was called up in May. He pitched well in eight of his last 10 starts, and that should be enough of a sample size to say he is a legitimate starter.

He averages six innings a start, and his command has been a difference in him being a good starter. He worked on developing his slider to help him throw strikes, and it paid off for him this season in getting guys outs in the majors. He knows how to mix in a slider with a curveball to get hitters out. The 23-year-old starter has finally found the confidence and stuff that turned him into a better pitcher.

After a rough start, Chacin turned his season around by pitching well in his last seven starts. He figured it out after a June 11 start against the Nationals where he threw strikes to get the Nationals out after he gave up a 2-0 lead. Since then, he found a way to throw strikes and not create a big inning. He is working faster, and he knows how to protect leads.

If Juan Nicasio or Drew Pomeranz can get it going, the Rockies are going to be in great shape where they can trot out four good starters every fifth day.

Good starting pitching sets the tone in winning games, and the Rockies have that.

They also have a great bullpen where they can protect leads after the sixth inning. The Rockies expect their starters to go six innings, and after that, they give the ball to Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers and Rafael Betancourt.

Belisle, Brothers and Betancourt have been reliable in protecting leads. They throw strikes, and they throw zeroes when they are on the mound. It’s a good feeling for Rockies manager Walt Weiss to have.

Pitching may have been the Rockies’ bugaboo for a long time, but this is not one of those years. This is actually their strength.

The hitting has been up and down for the Rockies, but the talent is there to win games.

As long as Troy Tulowitzki is healthy, the lineup should be good.  Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez will benefit with the Rockies shortstop being in the lineup as they will see more pitches to hit. That wasn’t the case when the Rockies All-Star was on the disabled list.

Nolan Arenado and Wilin Rosario have to play better than they have showed. They have done okay, but okay should not be good enough for those two that are capable of being great hitters.

The Rockies are in the top 10 in runs scored as they are ranked 10th in runs scored by scoring 426 runs. Still, they can do better. They have to stop making inferior starters look better than they are as they demonstrated against Chris Capuano last week.

The lineup is good enough to perform. The output can be better. The Rockies are banking Tulowitzki’s return will be the difference.

Not only do the Rockies have talent, but their competitors are not good.

The Diamondbacks leave a lot to be desired with their pitching. Their starters have not pitched well, and their bullpen leads the majors with 19 blown saves.

The Giants have struggled to score runs, and their pitching has been inconsistent.

The Dodgers have played well, but their pitching is a question mark outside of Kershaw.

The Padres are not good enough to win the division. Their pitching is a question mark, and their hitting is nothing to write home about.

When comparing the Rockies to other teams in the division, it would be a shame if they fail to make the playoffs.

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Now’s no time for Rockies to give in

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

The Rockies have five more games to play until the All-Star break.

The break couldn’t come soon enough for them based on the way they have played the last few weeks.

The grind has gotten the best out of them as they are not playing with an edge that we are used to seeing. They are making mental mistakes that they have not done in the first three months of the season. The pitching has not been great, either.

It adds up to the Rockies being 43-48. Their bad play has had an effect in the standings as they are 4 1/2 games out of first place.

The Rockies have had a rough go of it playing without Troy Tulowitzki, who is on the disabled list. They haven’t hit well, and they haven’t pitched well, either.

It does not mean all is lost for the Rockies. The NL West is mediocre, so they are going to be in this race.

It’s up to them to be in this position. That means they can’t finish the pre-All-Star break trending downward. That means they can’t enter the break with the idea this is a lost cause.

The next few days are going to be crucial for this team. There has to be hope.

The Rockies have to show they have it in them to handle adversity. They have done a good job of it for the most part so far, but now is the true test.

They have to find ways to win games and get that confidence back. They have to execute better. If they can do that, they should be okay.

It’s easier said than done, though.

That’s where they have to dig deep. This is where they need to grind out good at-bats. This is where they have to get good pitching. They have to do everything that wins games from now until Sunday.

The goal is to get to .500 by the All-Star break. It’s feasible by winning five in a row.  If they can do that, they are in good shape heading to the break.

Anything can happen in the NL West. From handicapping the NL West teams, there is no team that is going to dominate the division from now until September.

The Dodgers are the hot team right now, but that’s what they are. It remains to be seen if their pitching is good enough to propel them to the playoffs.

The Diamondbacks have good young talent, but their pitching is nothing special. Their bullpen has blown 19 saves, and their starting pitching has been medicore at best.

One would think the Giants would get hot, but they haven’t gone on a tear. They haven’t hit well, and their pitching has been inconsistent.

The Padres are a young team that will go through ups and downs. It’s hard to think they are good enough to win the division this year.

The Rockies have a chance. They have the offense to win games, and they have three good pitchers that give them a chance to win in Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood. Their bullpen is good enough to protect leads. They showed they have the talent to win games earlier in the year.

This team was good enough to be a .500 team if the team can avoid having injuries.

Being .500 is good enough to win a lousy division this year. It would be a shame if the Rockies blew that opportunity. It’s hard to make the playoffs every year, so it would behoove them if they don’t make it in a year that is feasible to qualify.

One thing going for the Rockies is Tulowitzki is going to be back after the post-All-Star break.

That is huge for so many reasons. He makes the offense better, and he is a great fielder. He brings intangibles to a team such as having a mean streak, leading by example and making others better with the lineup.

The Rockies clearly missed him while he was on the disabled list. It showed by their lousy offense. It also showed when they went 8-16 without him. It’s not an accident how valuable he is when the team has gone 123-161 without him.

Tulowitzki would give this team a huge boost if he comes back. The important thing is he has to somehow be healthy the rest of the season. That won’t be easy when one realizes he is always injury-prone.

It’s hard to count the Rockies out when he is coming soon.

This is why the Rockies can’t give up now. They have to find a way to win some games from now until Sunday.

With Tulowitzki doing all he can to play next week, this should inspire the Rockies to somehow toughen up and get wins.

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So many Rockies should be in midsummer classic

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

Bruce Bochy will be managing the National League in the All-Star Game next month at New York, and he will have the unenviable position of selecting guys for the midsummer classic.

At least, he will get some help. Players will be involved in selecting their peers for the All-Star Game.

My advice to Bochy would be that there should be six representatives from the Rockies in the All-Star Game.

Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Dexter Fowler, Jorge De La Rosa , Rex Brothers and Matt Belisle should play in that game based on them playing a role in the Rockies’ success so far this year. The team is 34-30, and they are 1 ½ games behind the division-leading Diamondbacks in the NL West.

Tulowitzki figures to be starting in the All-Star Game. He is leading in his ballot at shortstop by having  1,691,262 votes. Brandon Crawford is second with 1,015,633 votes, so unless the Giants fans stuff the ballots for their shortstop, look for a Rockie to be represented at shortstop.

This is well-deserved for Tulowitzki. After missing out last season with a groin injury, he has bounced back by batting.351 (2nd in batting average among NL leaders), hitting 16 home runs (3rd in home runs among NL leaders) and driving in 51 runs (2nd in RBIs among NL leaders).

Tulowitzki has played like a MVP candidate. He has stepped up in scoring position by hitting .347, and he looks comfortable at the plate as one can tell by his batting stance.

He has been labeled as injury-prone, and rightfully so. It always seems he comes up with injuries every season.

He took games off this year with a shoulder injury and a leg injury. Fortunately, it hasn’t been serious.

Based on how he performs, it’s easy to understand why Tulowitzki is valuable for the Rockies. It shows in the standings. The Rockies had a terrible season last year based on him being out of the lineup. It’s hard to win games when a great player like him is out.  He is hard to replace. He is not only a great hitter, but he is a great fielder, too.

Tulowitzki’s absence had a role in Carlos Gonzalez’s struggles last season.

Pitchers were able to walk Gonzalez, so he couldn’t get anything to hit.

That’s not the case this year, and it showed yesterday. Luke Gregerson couldn’t walk Gonzalez with Dexter Fowler at second and Tyler Colvin at third with 1 out in the ninth inning yesterday. If he did, Tulowitzki could have won the game with a base hit.

Gregerson pitched to Gonzalez, and that didn’t end well.

Gonzalez tied the game at 9 with a double that drove in Colvin and Fowler.

It’s a great feeling for a team to have when they can have a great hitter behind a great hitter in a situation like yesterday’s game.

Gonzalez is going to be a MVP candidate if he can sustain his play for the last two months. He leads the Rockies with 17 home runs (2nd in HRs among NL leaders) and he has 48 RBIs (3rd in RBIs among NL leaders) while batting .302 with an OPS of .992.

Gonzalez has also saved games with great defensive plays. He has been a highlight reel in the outfield as a Rockie.

There’s no question Gonzalez and Tulowitzki make an impact on the Rockies based on their offense, and that’s why they are All-Stars.

While it’s a good bet Gonzalez and Tulowitzki are playing in the All-Star Game, there are questions if the other four are a lock to play. They should be.

Fowler is also deserving of being an All-Star. He has played well, and he delivered a game-winning RBI with two outs in the tenth inning yesterday in the Rockies’ 8-7 win over the Padres.

He has hit well. There are so many outfielders deserving, so he will not make the cut. He should be, though. He has had a better year than Byrce Harper, who is in the top 3 in the OF ballots. The first three outfielders will be voted in.

De La Rosa is 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA, and he was 4-0 in the five games he pitched in May with a 2.08 ERA. If he wins 11 games, he has to be a cinch to be in the All-Star Game. He is worthy of pitching in that game since he is the Rockies’ stopper. He gives them a great performance every five days.

De La Rosa has to win all of his starts when one realizes the rest of the starters are not good. He is not that good of a pitcher to do that, but he has found a way to get it done.

One can make a case for Brothers and Belisle.

There is something to be said about a reliever having an impact on a team when he shuts down a team late in the game and having the ball every game.

That’s what Brothers and Belisle do when they are out there when they are called upon whether it’s to protect a lead or pitch in a tie game late in the game.

When those two pitch with a lead, it’s game over for the other team. That’s how good they have been.

Brothers is 2-0 with a 0.31 ERA, and he has given up only a run this year in 28 2/3 innings. He threw 28 strikeouts this year.  He is getting a shot to close while Rafael Betancourt is on the disabled list with a groin injury.

Belisle is 4-2 with a 3.15 ERA in the 31 games he pitched this season, and he has only walked seven batters in 34 1/3 innings this year.

When both relievers want the ball every game and get the job done, managers like that. They know the importance of a bridge to a closer in a game. Those guys play a role in keeping this lead. Guys like that are hard to find, and that’s why both of them are worthy.

It’s hard to believe both will make it, but one of them has to make it.

Bochy knows what Belisle and Brothers can do based on him watching those two against his Giants this year. He knows how valuable they are to the Rockies. It would be shame if either of them doesn’t make the All-Star roster.

The Rockies needed Belisle and Brothers to come through since they play tight games late. If those two didn’t get it done, the Rockies would not be winning that many games. There’s something to be said about good relief.

Anytime a team has that many All-Stars, it shows the value each has had on a ballclub. Those guys are invaluable based on the impact they have had in wins and losses.

The Rockies have six of those guys.

Who knows where the team would be without them?

That’s why they are All-Star worthy.

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Changes must be made in Rockies’ starting rotation

 (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

The Rockies’ starting rotation was off to a great start to the season.

The starters gave the Rockies a chance to win by performing quality starts. That was why the Rockies were off to a 13-4 start in April.

Since then, they have been mediocre at best with the exception of Jorge De La Rosa, who is 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA.

That is not going to cut it if the Rockies want to be a playoff team.

That’s why there is going to be several changes in the starting rotation.

It’s a move the Rockies have to make if they are going to win ballgames.

The first move was done last night when the Rockies designated Jon Garland for assignment. That move came to make room for Jeff Francis after he was activated from the disabled list.

Garland struggled since May by losing five straight games. His ERA ballooned to 5.82, and he had a 6.81 ERA over his last seven starts.  He was 4-6 after 12 starts.

He struggled to find his location, and he was constantly behind the count often.  He couldn’t get groundouts. He was a good bet to give up 7 hits at least when he was starting. He had a hard time retiring guys in order.

The Rockies hoped he would straighten himself out, but it never happened. They couldn’t justify keeping him in the rotation anymore.

The Rockies are disappointed it did not work out. They were hoping Garland would give them innings, quality starts and victories. They thought he would be a veteran that would create stability in the rotation.

They tried hard to get a starter in the offseason, but that did not materialize.

They signed Garland as a free agent after the Mariners released him in spring training. They liked what they saw from him when he went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts. He held the opposition to three runs on 10 hits with five walks and four strikeouts over 12 innings.

It was a good signing at the time, and he was off to a good start in April. Everything fell apart unfortunately, so the Rockies will move on.

With the way Tyler Chatwood pitched since his callup by going 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA in six starts, the Rockies found their replacement for Garland.

There are going to be more changes to come.

Francis is on the verge of losing his role in the rotation.

He had the pressure of holding on to his job after being activated from the disabled list. That’s a tough position to be, but that’s the way it goes in professional sports. He knows it.

Francis struggled last night.

He gave up four runs and six hits in four innings, and he walked three. He finished the game by throwing 93 pitches in four innings.

To be fair to Francis, it was going to take time for him to get back on track after missing time with a left groin strain.

With Roy Oswalt pitching well at Double-A Tulsa, it is going to be a matter of time until he gets called up.

This leaves no room for error for Francis, who has not pitched well before he was designated on the disabled list.

The Rockies can’t keep Francis in the rotation when he has a 6.30 ERA in 9 games. He can’t be on the rotation when he can only pitch for four or five innings at best. He is useless if he is struggling to face batters second time around.

Drew Pomeranz will be called up soon. With him pitching well at 7-1 in the 12 games he pitched at Colorado Springs, the organization feels he is ready to step up in the starting rotation.

Considering how awful Jhoulys Chacin has pitched, Pomeranz is the right guy to replace him.

They can’t justify keeping Chacin in the rotation if he continues to struggle.

Chacin can’t protect leads, and he struggles to get hitters out once he faces them for the second time in the game.

Chacin is 3-3 in 11 games with a 4.59 ERA, and he has given up a combined 10 runs and 16 hits in his last two starts. He hasn’t gotten guys out on strikeouts much this year, either.

The Rockies thought he could be their ace, but results say differently.

Chacin could be another guy losing his gig.

Juan Nicasio hasn’t been great shakes, but at least, he finds a way to win and get out of jams. He gives the Rockies a better chance to win than Chacin.

Who knows what Chatwood, Oswalt and Pomeranz can do?

As good as Chatwood has been, it remains to be seen is he can sustain his good performance for months.

He is the Rockies’ second best pitcher, but that’s not saying much. He still has something to prove.

Oswalt has not pitched well in recent years, so the Rockies are going on a limb with him. It’s hard to believe he can do much.

Pomeranz has the potential to be a good pitcher, but he has to show he has the mindset to pitch in the altitude.

Despite doubts about those guys, the Rockies should give them a chance to show what they can do.

They saw what Garland, Francis and Chacin can do. The results have not been pretty.

It’s time to try something new.

Everyone knew the Rockies’ starting rotation was a question mark to start the season.

The organization knew they were going to make changes with their rotation as the season went on.

That time has come.

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De La Rosa needs self-control to succeed

(Matt York/AP)

(Matt York/AP)

BY LESLIE MONTEIRO

Jorge De La Rosa has been the Rockies’ best pitcher.

Prior to last night’s start against the Diamondbacks, he was 2-1 with a 2.82 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in four starts. He also had a 17-inning scoreless streak.

Most importantly, he has been healthy. He has been injury-prone in his career, so the Rockies always hope for the best when he is out on the mound.

There is still a nagging issue about De La Rosa, though.

It’s his focus when he gives up a hit or when one of his fielders commits an error. Last night was a good example, and it was why he was the losing pitcher in the Rockies’ 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

De La Rosa was rattled in the second inning, and he gave up a run as a result.

It started when Paul Goldschmidt was on base for the Diamondbacks after Michael Cuddyer could not hold on to the ball that Ryan Wheeler threw from third. De La Rosa promptly gave up a hit to Cody Ross and Will Neives, and the Diamondbacks took a 1-0 lead on Neives’ single that scored Goldschmidt.

After giving up couple of hits, De La Rosa was having control problems.

Yorvit Torrealba sensed something was not right with De La Rosa, so he settled his starter down by talking to him.

De La Rosa was able to focus by getting Josh Wilson to ground into a double play for him to get two outs. He finished the second inning by getting Cliff Pennington to fly out.

In the fourth inning, De La Rosa’s focus was an issue again.

After the Rockies tied the game at 1 in the fourth inning, De La Rosa gave up a hit to Martin Prado. He lost control by throwing a wild pitch that sent Prado to second. He followed it up by giving up a two-run home run to Goldschmidt, which gave the Diamondbacks a 3-1 lead.

It seems everything has to be perfect for De La Rosa to succeed.

That’s not a recipe for success.

Being in a jam is something a pitcher has to deal with. It’s on him to find a way to get out of it. That’s the difference between a winning pitcher and a losing pitcher. That’s the difference between a great pitcher and a bad pitcher.

If a starter is distracted because of an error or a base hit, it’s not going to end well. That was the case for De La Rosa.

De La Rosa gets frustrated easily when the going gets tough. That’s not the type of leadership a starting pitcher has to display when he is on the mound.

A starting pitcher needs to exude confidence that he can bounce back from a jam or an infielder’s error.

It’s something De La Rosa has to work on for him to be effective.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss, Rockies pitching coach Jim Wright and Torrealba have done their part to help their southpaw harness his emotions.

It’s a work in progress for De La Rosa. It’s obvious he still has work to do based on what happened last night.

The Rockies need him to figure out a way to have self-control in situations like last night. He needs to trust his stuff and focus on the next batter. He shouldn’t get caught up on a bad play or worry about a baserunner.

De La Rosa can get guys out by striking them out. He has the command to get it done.

The problem with guys like him is his mindset. It means nothing for a pitcher to have a nice arm if he does not have confidence that he can get out of a jam.

Trevor Cahill showed De La Rosa how it’s done when it comes to having self-control in a jam.

Cahill loaded the bases in the fifth inning as he was protecting the Diamondbacks’ 3-1 lead. He gave up a hit to Dexter Fowler, and he walked Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.

Rather than focus on the baserunners or pout about his mistakes, Cahill pitched through it. He was able to get out of a jam by striking out Cuddyer and getting Wheeler to ground out.

That was why Cahill got the win and De La Rosa took the loss in a nutshell.

That was why the Diamondbacks celebrated on the field while the Rockies went to the clubhouse in a somber mood.

The starters set the tone in their team’s outcome of last night’s game.

De La Rosa must apply what Cahill did in his future starts.

It’s easier said than done, though.

It takes discipline for De La Rosa to develop self-control.

It’s something he has to continue to work on for him to finally grow up as a pitcher.

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