Mar 31, 2014 10:36 PM by Posted by Greg Smith
MIAMI -- Rockies left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa was involved in a pitching duel with the Marlins' Jose Fernandez for four innings Monday night.
During the fifth, as the game spun out of control, it looked as if he was battling catcher Wilin Rosario and his own temper. Forces internal and external defeated De La Rosa to the tune of five runs in the inning, and the Rockies were on their way to a 10-1 loss to the Marlins before a Marlins Park record crowd of 37,116.
It was Colorado's first game of the post-Todd Helton era. Helton retired last year after 17 seasons in a Rockies uniform. As enthusiastic a player as Helton was, he might have been happy in retirement watching the Rockies struggle with Fernandez and see things turn sour for De La Rosa.
The only hit off De La Rosa in the first three innings was Marcell Ozuna's third-inning leadoff homer. Ozuma led off the fifth by pulling a double to right. Then Adeiny Hechavarria singled for a 2-0 lead.
It was time for De La Rosa, making his first Opening Day start, to shut down the Marlins and give his squad a chance against Fernandez, who gave up one run -- on a majestic Carlos Gonzalez homer to center field in the sixth -- in six innings and struck out nine. After all, De La Rosa won 16 games last season, and after at least channeling his temper as his career progressed, has been one of the top left-handers in the National League West when healthy.
Instead, a meltdown ensued.
After Fernandez bunted Hechavarria to second, discord was seen in two mound visits. In the second, television footage showed what seemed to be disagreement between pitcher and catcher. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and pitching coach Jim Wright joined the conference. At one point, De La Rosa stepped away. It wasn't clear if an accord was reached, but home-plate umpire Jerry Layne put an end to all the talking.
It was shades of a Spring Training game with the Indians, when De La Rosa and Rosario seemed to have signals constantly crossed. De La Rosa thrived in his next start, but that was with catcher Michael McKenry, who will begin the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Christian Yelich reached on an infield single, when Hechavarria collided in the basepath with third baseman Nolan Arenado, but no infraction was called on either team. Then De La Rosa hit Jeff Baker with a pitch that bounced several feet in front of the plate before the lefty was replaced by Wilton Lopez. The offense-oriented Rosario's defense and handling of pitchers has been roundly called into question. But he and De La Rosa worked together during some wins last year, and manager Walt Weiss expected better when making out his lineup Monday.
Giancarlo Stanton singled in a run on a no-man's land bouncer that first baseman Justin Morneau fielded with no one covering first. Casey McGehee cleared the bases with a double to left field for a 6-0 lead.
De La Rosa was charged with five total runs on four hits, although he struck out six (all in the first four frames), in 4 1/3 innings.
The Rockies scratched out five hits on Fernandez, who's coming off an NL Rookie of the Year performance last year. But only one of the hits was damaging. With one out in the sixth, Gonzalez crushed a 94-mph four-seam fastball into the center-field bleachers, where batted balls rarely visit.
The Rockies twice had two on against Fernandez. But Troy Tulowizki struck out and Justin Morneau grounded out to end the first, and Fernandez worked Arenado into an infield popup to end the fourth.
Lopez gave up six hits and two earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. The Marlins scored three runs on four hits off Chad Bettis in the eighth.