After three very disappointing games over Memorial Day weekend Jorge De La Rosa (6-3) faced the Astros’ Jordan Lyles (2-1) in the second game of a strange four game series. Yesterday in game one of the series, which started in Houston, the Rockies lost 3-2 in extra innings. Over the years, for whatever reason, the Rockies have struggled in Minute Maid Park. There is no other active ballpark where the Rockies have a worse winning percentage. I blame the stupid hill in center field.
So with three gut-wrenching losses (it is still May) in a row the timing could not have been better for De La Rosa to pitch. If the Rockies have an ace at this point of the season it is De La Rosa. He has won each of his last four decisions and entered the game threatening to win five games in a row for the first time since 2009 (when he won 16 total).
You see it more often than you think. All you need to do is look at the Mets and Dodgers. Every five games when either Matt Harvey or Clayton Kershaw pitch for their respective teams, it is the one day that week the team does well. Both of those guys are “stoppers.” They stop a losing skid with both their arm and the confidence boost they give to the guys behind them. Today De La Rosa was a stopper. He pitched a total of seven innings and gave up only 1 run on 5 hits. He would not be credited with the win because he left the game in a 1-1 tie, but he did what was needed of him to get the teams first win since Friday.
If De La Rosa was today’s stopper, Michael Cuddyer has been the offensive equal. Cuddyer had six RBIs in his first three starts off of the disabled list. He missed the start yesterday because of a forearm bruise, so naturally the team lost. Cuddy came through again today with a ninth inning RBI single that drove in Troy Tulowitzki, who had doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Tulo also drove in the Rockies first run in the first inning when Dexter Fowler scored on an infield single.
Despite the fact that the Rockies had eight hits they only scored the two runs. This was largely because of two double plays and because they only went 3-10 w/RISP. Astros pitcher Jordan Lyles matched De La Rosa pitch for pitch, also giving up just the one run in seven innings. Luckily for Colorado the battle of the closers went their way. Closer Jose Veras took the loss for Houston while Rafael Betancourt recorded his 11th save of the year and first since blowing the save on an inside-the-park home run on Saturday.
This four game series continues Wednesday with the last two games of the series taking place in Denver, taking a page from the NHL with a home-and-home series.