Rubby De La Rosa sent shockwaves across Red Sox Nation as well as the baseball world on May 31, throwing seven shutout innings in a 4-1 Boston Red Sox win over the Tampa Bay Rays before a national audience.
He channeled that pitcher once again Monday night, dominating the Minnesota Twins‘ bats for seven innings in the Red Sox’ 1-0 win.
De La Rosa, credited with the winning decision to improve to 2-2, allowed just one hit and three walks over the seven shutout innings. He sat down the final 13 batters he faced, with five 1-2-3 innings. With the Red Sox bats cold once again, there was little margin for error. He pitched seeming to have that in mind.
A guy who appears to have the upper hand on hitters the second time through the order, De La Rosa got better as the game went on, building on a growing theme with the young Dominican righty.
In the first three innings of the game, he gave up a hit and walked two batters while throwing 50 pitches, 26 of which were for strikes. He threw four perfect innings after that, throwing 33 of 55 pitches for strikes.
It’s hard not to watch the 25-year-old pitcher and not get excited about what the future holds for him. De La Rosa has the best stuff of any Red Sox pitcher, with a fastball that reaches the mid-to-upper 90s and a changeup that tops off around 90 mph.
While the stuff is great, it’s also very raw. De La Rosa must improve his command and needs to develop a third pitch in order to be a top-line starter in the AL East. He threw just 59 of his 105 pitches for strikes on Monday. Any good lineup will exploit that lack of command, in addition to his reliance on the change.
We saw just that — good lineups exposing his flaws — in his last two starts prior to Monday against the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles, both upper-echelon lineups in the American League. De La Rosa was tagged for eight runs on 16 hits and four walks over 11 1/3 innings in those two games. His next start, on Saturday in Oakland, will be a test for De La Rosa on that very premise.
The way the game is today, you can never have too many good, young arms. The last two Red Sox games — between Brandon Workman‘s start on Sunday and De La Rosa’s start on Monday — are statements that Boston has at least two of those good, young arms.