Rubby De La Rosa has controlled what he can control. The ball is in the Boston Red Sox’s court.
De La Rosa turned in another impressive showing Saturday despite the Red Sox falling to the Oakland Athletics 2-1 in 10 innings at O.co Coliseum. The 25-year-old effectively has done everything in his power to lock down a spot in Boston’s major league rotation, although it’s possible he’ll soon get sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket with Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront rejoining the mix.
“He’s been great. He’s had great stuff,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said following Saturday’s loss. “Some of the tough at-bats they put on him, he bears down and locates. He’s been great for us.”
De La Rosa allowed just one run on four hits over seven innings Saturday. The right-hander struck out seven, walked one and threw 100 pitches (58 strikes), yet he came away with a no-decision because of the Red Sox offense’s continued inability to produce timely hits. Coco Crisp eventually gave the A’s a walk-off victory in the bottom of the 10th inning with an RBI single off Koji Uehara after Edward Mujica walked the leadoff batter.
De La Rosa now has made five starts for the Red Sox this season. He has gone seven innings in three of the five, blanking the opposition on two occasions. De La Rosa’s ERA following Saturday’s outing sits at 2.51, and his performance against the A’s was particularly encouraging because it represented a terrific effort on the road. Before Saturday, De La Rosa’s ERA in two road starts was 6.25 (eight earned runs in 11 1/3 innings).
“He’s got outstanding stuff,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “There’s been a couple of times today even when he’d fall behind 3-0 in counts, he comes all the way back to record an out, either by a ball in play or strikeout. He’s pitched with a lot of poise and just very, very good stuff overall.”
De La Rosa consistently dialed it up to 97 mph Saturday. He supplemented his heat with a devastating changeup that was reminiscent of the one his good friend Pedro Martinez used to use while making hitters look silly. It was hard not to be impressed.
De La Rosa is joined by Buchholz, Doubront and Brandon Workman in a group of four pitchers vying for the final two spots in the Red Sox’s rotation. Optioning De La Rosa to Triple-A hardly seems like the best solution at this point given how well he has pitched, but it certainly represents the simplest move because of the minor league options he has available.
If De La Rosa is, in fact, shipped back to Pawtucket, don’t be surprised if it’s a short stint. De La Rosa has shown over the last three weeks that he has the goods to be an effective major league pitcher right now.