Blood blister, not Diamondbacks, slows De La Rosa

April 2, 2011 | 10:32 pm | 14  

Jorge De La Rosa, labeled by some the key to the Colorado Rockies season, is confident he will make his next start — Friday at Pittsburgh — saying the blood blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand that caused him to leave after 5 1/3 scoreless innings will not be an issue.

“My finger’s good,” said De La Rosa, the winning pitcher in the Rockies 3-1 victory that evened their series with the Diamondbacks. “I’m going to make my next start for sure.”

De La Rosa said he typically deals with a blister on that finger at the outset of the season. Referring to the blister, he said, “I was feeling it a little bit when I threw my changeup.” After he left the game, the Rockies training staff popped the blister and filed it down, and manager Jim Tracy said, “The finger looked very, very clean.”

The blister notwithstanding, Tracy called De La Rosa’s changeup “devastating” and praised him for staying ahead of hitters.

De La Rosa left the game after getting Kelly Johnson to lead off the sixth. On came Matt Belisle and up stepped the Rockies defense. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki went up the middle to spear Justin Upton’s grounder, made a 360-degree turn and threw him out, thanks to first baseman Todd Helton‘s scoop. Chris Young followed with a drive to right field that Seth Smith caught just before hitting the wall. And after Ryan Roberts’ leadoff single in the seventh, left fielder Carlos Gonzalez made a sprawling catch in foul territory of a ball hit by Miguel Montero.

Tracy said he didn’t know if there was another left fielder who can make that play and wasn’t sure his was going to it.

Offensively, the Rockies seem to be applying hitting coach Carney Lansford’s use-the-entire-field approach. Dexter Fowler drove in the Rockies’ first run with an opposite-field double in the third. The hit scored Chris Iannetta, who led off the inning with a single up the middle on Daniel Hudson’s 2-2 pitch. Iannetta’s two-out double to the right-field corner in the fourth scored Jose Lopez, who had reached base on an opposite-field single. And De La Rosa, who hit .141 (7-for-41) last year with four RBI and 15 strikeouts, lined a single over second to score Iannetta.

Was there anything not to like in the Rockies first win of the year? Well, Tulowitzki went 0-for-3 with a walk, two of his at-bats ending innings with runners in scoring position. He’s hitless in his first eight at-bats this season and has hit one ball to the outfield.

Ian Stewart, in his first start, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts after striking out as a pinch hitter Friday.

And closer Huston Street earned his first save but had to throw 32 pitches to do it. His job might have been easier had second baseman Lopez, positioned perfectly by coach Rich Dauer, fielded the ball Upton hit hard but right at Lopez. After Roberts singled home a run on a 1-2 slider, Street got Montero to line out to center fielder Fowler on the first pitch with runners on first and second on the move. Pinch hitter Russell Branyan sent Fowler close to the wall to haul down his deep drive, the runners tagging up on the catch. Street then struck out Gerardo Parra to end the game.

Asked about the slider that Roberts lined to left to break up the shutout, Street offered this assessment of the pitch and his outing that netted him career save No. 150.

“That was probably the pitch in the inning I’d say was not my best, but the three before that that he fouled off were really good pitches,” Street said. “Some days you make those pitches and they swing and miss and some days it was a battle. Today was absolutely a battle. Tip your hat to them. That being said, Rockies win _ I’m happy.”

14 Comments »

  • Bill | April 2, 2011 | 10:51 pm

    I’ll take a 3-1 win any day over a 7-6 loss.

    As Jack mentioned Tulo and Stewart are still both 0 for the season but they both made great defensive plays. Stewart’s play early in the game beat the runner by so much you might even forget how good it was. And Tulo, with help from Helton, made a great play. So did all three outfielders.

    I think it’s great that Iannetta and Fowler are hitting so well this early. Hope it keeps up. Hopefully we can take a lead early tomorrow. Bad weather is suppose to arrive around 3 o’clock.

  • Karl | April 2, 2011 | 11:02 pm

    Defense, pitching and timely hitting win games. Team got those tonight, though with some varying degrees on the interpretation of the last two. I was very happy to see Iannetta’s hit to center and then to right tonight. If he can keep this up, Agbayani and I will be happy as will many of Rockies Nation.

    Tulo will be fine as will the Rbi’s for Todd and Cargo. Defense is there and two strike hitting is starting to get better in some instances.

    Now if we could just get the team to start using some hand lotion in spring training apparently.

  • Colorado Thistle | April 2, 2011 | 11:11 pm

    What was the issue with Parra? He seemed to get into it with Jorge after a walk. The umpires came out and had words, but in the stadium you couldn’t tell what was going on. When Parra took the field in the bottom of the inning, the third base umpire stopped him to talk to him. Odd.

    Then he misplayed the Smith hit, allowing it to go over his head and struck out to end the game. Fitting, for someone who seemed to be barking at De La Rosa for no good reason.

  • jaredean | April 3, 2011 | 1:28 am

    yeah, that whole Parra thing was very odd…nobody mess’ with the DeaLeR…NOBODY…

  • Miketober | April 3, 2011 | 7:46 am

    I think Jack makes Street sound better than he was. The deep fly almost tied it. He walked a guy and have up 2 more hits. And he wasn’t fooling anybody, except Parra. The D-backs were consistently fouling off all his better pitches. No movement or good at-bats?

    My other complaint is the lack of offense after the Rox took the 3-0 lead. It seemed like every Rockie swung at the first pitch and popped out. We made their bullpen look too good.

    Sorry for being negative. A win is a win. Let’s hope we can win the series and grow the confidence and swagger.

  • Wayne | April 3, 2011 | 8:21 am

    I read an explanation on the Parra thing in the Post. DLR said Parra was upset that DLR threw a change up on 3-2 count.

    Glad to see Iannetta and Smith embracing the “use the whole field” approach. The Rox are just about the best defensive team in the NL West, maybe whole NL. Would have been nice if Lopez snagged that shot by Upton, but that ball was smoked. Not even sure Herrera handles that. Would like to see Tulo relax a little, seems on TV to be choking the bat handle, especially when they do the Tulo chant.

    Let’s hope our two pitchers are all right. Cuticle cuts are irritatingly painful, and like a paper cut they sting all the time.

    Stewart has his seat firmly planted on my “drive out of town bus”. I have never been a fan, I like the guy just not his offensive game, and he is my new poster boy for all the Rox ills currently and in the future. I would love to see him turn his offensive game around, but I just don’t think it will ever happen. He can’t adjust to the off speed and breaking pitches, and then when he is looking for off speed or breaking pitches he gets blown away by a fastball.

    Rant on Stewart over, sorry to bore you all.

    GO ROX!!!!

  • Bill | April 3, 2011 | 10:25 am

    I’m a fair weather fan so will stay home and watch/listen from the safety of my house.

    I’m not ready to run Stewart out of town just yet. He’s had 4 AB’s this year. And he made a great defensive play last night.

    I am more worried about Street. Yes, he got the job done, but just barely. We need him to be lock down like he was in ’09. Also a bit surprised that Herrara wasn’t in for Lopez for defense in the 9th although as Wayne said even he might not have snagged that hit last night.

    I heard the talk last night that the dry weather in Denver might be the cause of DLR’s blister and Ubaldo’s injury. I’m not buying that. Last I heard Scottsdale is even drier (at least usually so) than Denver. DLR says he always gets this and isn’t worried. I think Ubaldo is more of a worry.

  • Agbayani | April 3, 2011 | 11:21 am

    So Stewart haters, who would you rather have play 3B? Jonathan Herrera (or move Lopez to 3B and Herrera plays 2B)? Ty Wigginton? In exactly what way would that improve this club?

    Wigginton OPS+ (which does adjust for home park; 100 is a completely average player):

    2009: 86
    2010: 96

    Stewart:

    2009: 95
    2010: 97

    Herrera:

    2009: minors
    2010: 78

    I’ll grant you that there’s something to be said for sitting Stewart against some lefties (although I wouldn’t strictly platoon him; his defensive advantage over Wigginton is pretty big), but there’s no argument to be made that he should actually lose his starting job to the likes of Wigginton or Herrera.

  • Wayne | April 3, 2011 | 12:05 pm

    Agbayani, there is nobody I would rather have at 3B defensively than Stewart. It’s just after 3 years of watching him not adjust at the plate that I am not a fan of his offensive game. And every year I pick one player that I blame everything on, and after three years it’s Stewart’s turn (2008 it was Tavares, 2009 it was Atkins, 2010 it was Hawpe and Helton– just need some one to bitch about sometimes)

    Not sure who makes us better in our system, but Ian does not make us better either.

    Open for any suggestions.

  • Rich M | April 3, 2011 | 12:19 pm

    Can we please stop talking about making Herrara the Rockies starting third baseman? With Helton’s power falling off at first base, the Rockies have to have some thump in the lneup at third base.

    If for some reason Stewart doesn’t come around (he basically missed all of ST), the Rockies will be fine with either Wiggy or Lopez at third, and BTW I noticed that Lopez is starting at third base today – Sunday! Not a big :opez fan, but I do like the lineup that J Tracy is using today against the lefty from AZ.

    Having said that, I wonder if Stewart would benefit from a refresher course and big time wakeup call by being sent to Colorado Springs for April (consider that the ST training that he lost out on)? Does anyone know if Stewart has options remaining or not?

  • progmatinee | April 3, 2011 | 1:24 pm

    dan uggla. coors field. 40 hrs. 110 rbi. that is all.

  • Agbayani | April 3, 2011 | 4:53 pm

    Wayne, I see your point. Stewart kind of frustrates a lot of us (myself — his manager — included). He seemed poised to do big things, and what we’ve wound up with is a roughly league-average third baseman. I think it’s natural for fans and coaches to appreciate the guy with limited skills — Herrera, or Wigginton — who seems to make the most out of them rather than the obviously very talented guy who seems to be unable to make himself better. I’m to the point with Stewart where I’ve given up on him getting significantly better. He is what he is: a bit below average as a hitter for a starting third baseman, a bit above average as a fielder. But average isn’t the worst thing in the world when the alternatives are guys like Melvin Mora or Ty Wigginton. Wigginton can be very useful if he’s used in the right spots, but I’m still afraid that Tracy will get so frustrated with Stewart that he’ll hand Ty way too much playing time. Stewart is, all in all, still the better player and he ought to get the bulk of the playing time.

    I agree with Prog that it’s a shame that the Rockies did very little to upgrade at either 2B or 3B. I don’t really care which one it is. The point is that we needed another good bat, and didn’t really get one.

  • Wayne | April 3, 2011 | 5:54 pm

    Succinct, to the point and well put Agbayani.

  • rockymountainhigh | April 3, 2011 | 10:03 pm

    SSS (Small Sample Size) for Stewart; I’m calling it – he will have a good year once his leg injuries are completely healed; at least 25 HRs and a .260 BA.