PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Somewhere in baseball’s book of clichés is the one that says all a manager can hope for from his starting pitcher is that he keeps his team in the game.
That was the story Thursday afternoon when Pawtucket Red Sox right-hander Rubby De La Rosa coughed up three runs in the second inning to the Toledo Mud Hens but then slammed the door shut which helped his team rally for a 5-3 victory.
“I think after that second inning, to be able to make an adjustment was impressive,” said PawSox manager Kevin Boles. “He had 45 pitches through two innings and was able to go 6 2/3 innings. That was a pretty impressive adjustment by him.
“He established his fastball. That’s key for him. To get that fastball command and trust was pretty impressive.”
Overall, De La Rosa allowed only four hits, three runs (one of which was earned), four walks and fanned six.
As a result he evened his record at 2-2 through seven starts and lowered his ERA to 2.29.
De La Rosa’s problems in the second inning were due in part to sloppy defense as left fielder Justin Henry made an errant throw home on Ben Guez’s single. And De La Rosa, who was backing up home, threw wildly to catcher Christian Vasquez which allowed a second run to score.
After that, he allowed only one hit over his last five innings (a bloop double by Guez).
Rich Hill and Drake Britton (save No. 3) combined to blank Toledo over the last 2 ½ innings. But Boles had Hill warming up in the bullpen during the second just in case De La Rosa didn’t escape without further damage.
“You have to watch inning to inning,” said Boles. “There’s going to come to a point in time where a guy throws a bunch of pitches and you may have to make a decision. In that regard, we wanted to have somebody ready.
“But for Rubby to make that adjustment, he’s done that in other outings. Maybe he hasn’t had as much going in a particular inning where he’s had to battle through. But his back was up against the wall.
“You can’t sell his stuff short. But his mound presence and composure were impressive today.”
That was particularly true when De La Rosa faced his last batter, Tyler Collins, and got him to pop out weakly to shortstop on 96 mph fastball.
“He dialed it up a notch on that last hitter,” said Boles. “He wanted to finish that seventh inning and was competing the whole way.”
EXTRA BASES: The PawSox scored all of their runs in the fifth, three coming on a Corey Brown homer … Brock Holt tripled and later scored on Daniel Nava’s single … Bryce Brentz’s fielder’s choice produced the last run.