ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Not long ago, the narrative on Rubby De La Rosa was simple: very good at Fenway, very bad on the road.
In the last six days, however, that's started to change. De La Rosa limited the St. Louis Cardinals to a single run over six innings last
Tuesday, then followed that up with even more impressive performance Sunday, shutting out the Los Angeles Angels for the first seven innings before allowing a solo homer to Mike Trout to start the eighth.
The homer spoiled the shutout bid and ended De La Rosa's day, but it didn't take anything away from the impression he made.
Over his last three starts, De La Rosa has pitched 19 innings and given up just five earned runs for an ERA of 2.37. In fact, over his last eight starts, he's given up three earned runs or fewer seven times.
And Sunday, coming hours after the Red Sox played 19 innings, it wasn't just how well De La Rosa pitched, but how long.
"We needed Rubby to go deep and he did,'' said John Farrell after the Sox had beaten the Angels, 3-1. "He pitched with a lot of poise and three three pitches for strikes. When you think about the last three starts in particular, with two of them being on the road, I think more than anything, he's pitching with an awful lot of confidence. He's maintaining stuff deep into games.''
Indeed, De La Rosa's biggest challenges came early on. He had the bases loaded and one out in the first; two on and one out in the third and two on and no out in the fourth. But after that, De La Rosa retired 12 of the next 13 hitters before Trout struck.
"I think that's where the poise really started to show up most,'' said Farrell. "But then he settled into a good rhythm. He was able to add and subtract on his fastball and he always has that changeup to go to. But the overall relaxation and confidence is really showing through.''
"I feel everything worked today,'' said De La Rosa, 4-4 with a 3.21 ERA on the season. "The two-seamer, the four-seamer, my slider. I feel confident right now. I'm more comfortable than I was at the beginning of the season. I'm feeling good right now.''
De La Rosa also had an excellent slider to mix in with his other pitches.
"They were looking for my off-speed stuff,'' he related, "or looking for either my changeup or fastball, so I tried to command my slider more. In counts when I was supposed to throw my changeup, I would try to throw my slider and keep them off-balance.''
Sunday also marked the sixth time this season that he's pitched at least six innings and allowed one run or fewer, the most such outings of any current Boston starter.