The starting pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks has been, in a phrase, wildly inconsistent this season.
Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa had been as close to consistent as the Arizona rotation could offer in recent weeks. In his last seven starts, the 26-year-old had posted a 5-0 record with a solid 2.54 ERA while striking out 26 and walking 17.
The Diamondbacks went 6-1 in games started by De La Rosa in that span.
Inconsistency reared its ugly head Thursday night in De La Rosa’s latest start against St. Louis. He struggled from the outset, walking Matt Carpenter and Tommy Pham in the top of the first inning. Kolten Wong doubled to left two batters later to stake the Cardinals to a 1-0 lead.
De La Rosa labored through five innings, allowing five hits, five earned runs and five walks. He also surrendered two home runs in a 5-3 loss that snapped his personal five-game winning streak.
“He didn’t start out too well, it just seemed like he was a little over-amped, and was trying to hard,” manager Chip Hale said following the game. “Just flying open mechanically and just wasn’t finding the zone.”
Tony Cruz led off the second inning with a home run off of De La Rosa (11-6) to push the St. Louis lead to 2-0. Greg Garcia then walked and was knocked in by an RBI-double from Carpenter to make it 3-0.
The D-backs battled back, posting three runs in the bottom of the second, including a two-run single from Ender Inciarte.
But once again, De La Rosa was victimized by the long ball. With two outs in the fifth, Brandon Moss clubbed a first-pitch changeup over the wall in right for a two-run shot that proved to be the winning margin for the Cardinals.
St. Louis left town with a four-game sweep and a season sweep over the Diamondbacks.
“His stuff was good, he just has to get a little better at managing anxiety,” Hale said.
After Carpenter’s double in the second, De La Rosa didn’t allow another hit until the pivotal fifth inning. Wong singled ahead of Moss’ two-run shot.
“I think Rubby has proven to us what he’s going to do. For some reason, maybe because he wanted to stop the losing streak, maybe it was because it was the Cardinals and he’s tired of watching them beat us at our house, maybe he was just trying too hard,” Hale said.
“I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt with the way he’s pitched for us. Like I said, his stuff was still good and after that initial tough time, he was starting to roll and the ball was coming out of his hand good.”
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