Jorge De La Rosa maintained his Coors Field mastery, pitching the Colorado Rockies to a 5-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals. He raised his Coors Field career record to 44-14 tossing eight innings of 5-hit ball while allowing two runs. The Royals got off to a 2-0 lead on Alex Gordon’s towering shot and a sacrifice fly. The Rockies struggled for most of the game notching only six hits, but two of the hits were timely. Nolan Arenado led off the fourth inning with a triple and he came home on Wilin Rosario’s sacrifice fly narrowing the deficit to 2-1.
With two outs in the bottom of sixth inning, Arenado reached on a throwing error by Christian Colon. Baby Bull singled up the middle. The normally aggressive Corey Dickerson accepted a four-pitch free pass to load the bases. Matt McBride, the last remaining piece of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, smacked a grand slam on the first pitch. That was four runs scored over seven pitches (Arenado & Rosario also put the ball in play on the first pitch). The senior citizen of Colorado’s pitching staff, LaTroy Hawkins, picked up his 19th save of the season.
De La Rosa is creating a dilemna for the Rockies’ front office after this season is over. The 33-year old is 9-2 with a 3.19 ERA in 13 starts at Coors Field this year. He is earning $11M this year and becomes a free agent when the season is over. Colorado will need to make a $14M qualifying offer if they wish to get a compensation draft pick should De La Rosa decide to walk. The management has been reluctant in the past to shell out some money for pitchers which is understandable after the Neagle/Hampton fiasco. On the other hand, the Rockies were decimated this year, as have most years, by lack of pitching. Brett Anderson has an expensive option which may influence the De La Rosa decision to stay at Coors Field or take his pitching elsewhere.
Colorado is on a hot streak winning four of the last six games against playoff contenders. They improved their record to 50-76 moving a game ahead of the Texas Rangers in a race for the first overall pick in 2015. They see the Miami Marlins this weekend before hitting the road against San Francisco and Arizona.