In all likelihood, Jorge De La Rosa has three starts left in his Colorado Rockies career. That number includes his trip to the mound tonight in Arizona against the Diamondbacks.
De La Rosa has much to his credit in a Colorado uniform, but time is catching up with him. He’s 35 and scheduled to be a free agent at season’s end. Colorado’s youth movement is in full effect on the mound, meaning the end may be near for the franchise’s all-time leader in wins (86).
Recently asked whether his time with the Rockies might be winding down, De La Rosa said, “Yeah, maybe. I know they got a lot of good pitching. I don’t know if they need me or not. I’m going to keep pitching, finish strong. That’s what I need to do.”
Finishing strong is what De La Rosa has done. Since July 25, he’s 2-0 with a 3.54 ERA over his last nine starts, with four quality starts in that span.
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Completing a two-year, $25 million contract, De La Rosa has been through a lot this season. A horrid start was followed by a stint on the disabled list. When he was activated, he was rocked in a start in Boston before being sent to the bullpen to work out some issues. No one knew how the move to the bullpen would work out, but his time as a reliever made a complete difference in his season.
Over his last 16 starts since June 14, when he returned from the bullpen, De La Rosa is 6-3 with a 3.72 ERA. Compare that to the first six starts of the season, when was 1-4 with a 11.41 ERA.
There’s a lot to celebrate about De La Rosa, who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations on April 30, 2008. A pitcher who had great potential early in his career finally discovered it in the Mile High City. He found a home in Denver, where he has a .736 winning percentage at Coors Field (53-19) over his career. That’s the second-best career record at a single ballpark (minimum 70 decisions) for a Major League pitcher since 1969.
Some of his accomplishments this season include earning his 100th career win in an August 5 victory at the New York Mets. He’s the fifth Mexican-born pitcher in Major League history to achieve the 100-win plateau, joining Fernando Valenzuela, Esteban Loaiza, Yovani Gallardo and Ismael Valdez.
Do the Rockies need De La Rosa next season with all of the young pitching they have at their disposal? It’s one of the many questions that will be answered in the offseason.
However De La Rosa’s time ends in Denver, he has at most three starts left this season. In what on paper may seem like a meaningless game tonight between the Rockies and Diamondbacks, it’s worth watching Colorado’s all-time winningest pitcher try to add to his win total before his time runs out.