De La Rosa shaky, but Rox bats get to Garza
Gonzalez drives in two as part of four-run Colorado first inning
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Two opposing pitchers expected to lead their respective rotations had rough Cactus League debuts Sunday afternoon. The Brewers' Matt Garza, who signed for four years and $50 million, and the Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa, who tied a career high with 16 wins last year, each gave up four runs and did not stay in the game as long as anticipated.
Long after both starters exited, Hector Gomez homered to left field in the eighth inning off Rockies reliever Scott Oberg to give the Brewers a 6-5 victory at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in front of 9,227, who otherwise saw little offense against the teams' relievers.
It was the first Cactus League homer of the season for Gomez, who played two Major League games with the Rockies in 2011.
Garza said he was so excited he did not sleep Saturday night. With Garza's fastballs missing their spots and his changeups not fooling anyone, the first three Rockies reached, with No. 3 hitter Carlos Gonzalez driving in a run. Michael McKenry doubled in two runs, Brandon Barnes added an RBI single and Garza was gone after completing the inning.
"Mentally, it was more of a [workout]," Garza said. "Your body, you've been training enough to do this, but mentally, you have to be able to control the emotions. I worked all offseason to be able to come out and play, and now you get to play and you're just excited. Everything was just fast and flying for me.
"It's one of those things where if you're not throwing your only off-speed pitch good, then -- tee-time."
One of De La Rosa's spring projects is to pitch inside more. He has succeeded on the outer part of the plate. Last year, working outside helped him to a 16-6 record and 3.49 ERA. But a frequent opponent is the Dodgers, who tend to look outside and have saddled him with a career 2-8 record and 5.99 ERA against them.
But De La Rosa went inside against the first Brewers batter, Rickie Weeks, who parked a homer to left field on the game's third pitch. De la Rosa went slightly longer than Garza, 1 2/3 innings, and gave up four runs on four hits with two walks, a wild pitch and an error on a pickoff move.
It was not De La Rosa's first forgettable day of early Spring Training -- among others, he had an awful outing against the Royals last spring.
"I've heard that, like, 10 times today," De La Rosa said with a smile.
"I was bad today," he said. "Everything was up. When I tried to come in, it went to the middle. When I tried to throw away, it went more away. I have to fix it."
Gonzalez had two hits, including a double. The Brewers' Weeks, Lyle Overbay and Irving Falu were starting lineup members who had two hits apiece. Khris Davis homered off Rockies reliever Manny Corpas to open the fifth.
Rockies up next: Split-squad Monday will be all about the prospects. Righty Jon Gray, the Rockies' top pick last summer and the third overall choice, is on the schedule to pitch against the Mariners in Peoria, Ariz., at 1:05 p.m. MT. And righty Eddie Butler is listed as one of the pitchers for the 7:10 p.m. MT game against the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. But there is also interest in the two pitchers the Rockies will start. Lefty Brett Anderson, who came in an offseason trade with the Athletics, will start against the Mariners. Lefty Christian Friedrich, who did not pitch in the Majors last season because of a back issue but is competing for a rotation spot, will start against the D-backs.