By: Kayla Mortellaro
PHOENIX— On a night at Chase Field that the Arizona Diamondbacks were honoring one of the greatest pitchers of all-time in Randy Johnson, current right- handed pitcher Rubby De La Rosa pitched a gem against the Milwaukee Brewers.
De La Rosa pitched 8 scoreless innings, striking out 6 batters, giving up 4 hits and walking 2 en route to a 2-0 win over the Brewers Saturday night.
“It was everything,” De La Rosa said after the game about what was working for him. “My pitching was great today. Me and Castillo tried to stay on the same page, no matter the situation, no matter the count, no matter the man on base. It was just everything.”
Admittedly, De La Rosa has been inconsistent this season, but over his last 14 starts where he pitches more than 7 innings in a game, he has been excellent, going 10-0 with a 1.15 ERA.
“He threw 8 innings and no runs, that was impressive,” manager Chip Hale said after the game. “He showed tonight what he can do when he keeps the ball down. We have seen the 96 to 98 [mph] stuff but when he is 92, 94 [mph] and he’s down with his sinker, he gets a lot of ground balls.”
The Dbacks gave De La Rosa an early lead jumping on Brewers pitcher Taylor Jungmann in the bottom of the 1st inning. Ender Inciarte started things off with a double, only to get caught trying to steal 3rd base. But the momentum did not stall as AJ Pollock drew a walk and Paul Goldschmidt brought him home with a long double. Goldy eventually scored on a RBI-single from Jake Lamb.
In front of 34,957 fans, De La Rosa worked through the 8th inning. On his 100th pitch of the night, he struck out Gerardo Parra with a 97 mph fast ball. He followed that with a walk to Jonathan Lucroy and then received a visit from Hale as Ryan Braun was due up.
“Hark [Mike Harkey] had said that Zig [Brad Ziegler] was ready and I was thinking about bringing him in to get a ground ball,” Hale said. “And as I was walking out there, I just wanted to talk to him and look in his [De La Rosa’s] eyes and see what I saw and also talk to [Wellington] Castillo. Both of them were very positive and felt really good about getting the outs they needed. So I just tapped him on the chest and said ‘you got it’.”
De La Rosa got Braun to line out to center field and then was able to get Shane Peterson to ground out to end the inning.
This season, De La Rosa is 8-5 with a 4.52 ERA and has stuck-out 106 batters. Tonight’s outing, though, was by far his best of the season.
“Yes, definitely,” Hale said when asked if this is the best he’s seen from De La Rosa this year. “I mean he’s probably had more electric stuff velocity wise, but he’s started to pitch and that’s important for him.”
The Brewers tried to mount a comeback in the 9th inning as Brad Ziegler had the bases loaded with 2 outs. But he was able to get Parra to strike-out looking to end the game and subsequently pick up his 16th save of the season.
With the win over the Brewers, the Dbacks have complied six shut-outs this season and are now 45-51 on the season good enough to be in fourth place in the NL West and 9.5 games behind the first place Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dbacks will wrap up their 10-game home stand with a fourth game against the Brewers on Sunday. Jeremy Hellickson is slated to get the start against Matt Garza. First pitch is 1:10 p.m. on Fox Sports Arizona.
But the gates to Chase Field will open at 11 a.m. to allow fans to watch Johnson officially be enshrined at Cooperstown on the big jumbo-tron.
Johnson spent eight years in Phoenix and won a World Series title with the Diamondbacks in 2001, plus he captured four Cy Young Award titles while with the club, five in total for his 22- year career. The Big Unit also pitched a perfect game with the Dbacks in 2004. Johnson finished his Hall of Fame career with a 3.29 ERA, 4,875 strike-outs and a 303-166 win-loss record.