Rubby De La Rosa

Why you should have cared about Saturday's Red Sox game: Rubby De La Rosa has seemingly hit the wall

Rob Bradford
September 20, 2014 - 5:57 pm

BALTIMORE -- Rubby De La Rosa is sputtering toward the finish line. The Red Sox starter had yet another subpar outing, this time allowing four runs on six hits over just four innings in the Red Sox' 7-2 loss to the Orioles, Saturday night in Camden Yards. Coming into the start against the O's, De La Rosa had gone 0-3 with a 6.91 ERA and .352 batting average against in his previous six outings. Before the game, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that De La Rosa would make one more start before the end of the regular season. The righty has, however, seemingly hit a wall already, having thrown a career-high 160 innings (between the minors and majors). De La Rosa isn't alone in having to fight through unchartered territory when it comes to  workload, with Allen Webster (174 combined innings), Anthony Ranaudo (170) and Brandon Workman (148 1/3) all reaching career highs. "I think what that group is learning along the way is that it'€™s a sizable jump from Triple A to here and the ability to go through a lineup three times is a challenge," Farrell said. "That comes down to consistency from pitch to pitch. It'€™s not a matter of stuff. It'€™s a matter of learning challenges at the major league level." The manager added, "They'€™re all candidates. How strong they'€™re going to be is different from guy to guy and part of what we'€™re trying to get our arms around this September is some kind of pref order to that group." Here is a look at how De La Rosa's stuff has slightly waned (courtesy This time De La Rosa ran into trouble the second time through the lineup, giving up two runs in the third and fourth innings. Coming into the game, the righty had allowed a .340 batting average after throwing his first 25 pitches. "I'€™m sure it'€™s getting to that point," said Farrell regarding De La Rosa's fatigue due to his innings total. "He'€™s at a point and time where he'€™s not pitched this many innings in his entire career so we have to take that into account. There'€™s been no decision on any changes to the rotation going forward but all these things will be brought into play." Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves also offered a possible explanation regarding De La Rosa's recent struggles. "Making adjustments through the game. I will pinpoint this: he never established anything," Nieves noted. "He never established his fastball. He never established anything. He just threw stuff out there, hoped it would stick and swing and miss. That's probably the biggest thing. It also comes from a young kid who has a great fastball and a plus changeup, working on spinnability and seeing what fits. His repertoire is something he can manipulate other than the two pitches he has. It's not adding another pitch, it's what else can we do." One of the lone bright spots for the Red Sox was David Ortiz' 35th home run, giving him his highest HR total since 2007. Rusney Castillo also extended his career hitting streak to three games, claiming his first non-infield base-hit in the ninth on a line-drive to center field off of Tommy Hunter. Christian Vazquez also threw out another baserunner trying to steal (Alejandro De Aza), giving him a 13-for-27 success rate. It allowed him to pass Yadier Molina for best caught stealing percentage for catchers playing 49 games or more. "His transfer and his footwork and his accuracy and his arm strength, all that is above average," Farrell said of his catcher. "When you consider the game awareness and his ability to make the throws that he does, it has been impressive. To me, he'€™s quickly gaining a reputation around the league that he'€™s a shutdown thrower type of catcher. Defensively, he continues to do a very good and consistent job." For a complete box score, click here.