July 17, 2016

DENVER -- Jorge De La Rosa will try to continue his successful run since he returned to the Colorado Rockies' rotation, and Tampa Bay Rays starter Chris Archer will look to break a losing streak when the pitchers oppose each other in the rubber game of a three-game series Wednesday.

De La Rosa is 4-2 with 2.68 ERA in his past six starts since rejoining the rotation June 14 after working in relief for three games.

"I mix my pitches more, much better now," said De La Rosa, who is 6-6 with a 5.50 ERA overall in 15 games, 12 starts.

He began the season 1-4 with an 11.41 ERA in six starts, the last on May 24 after a month-long stay on the disabled list due to a left groin strain. De La Rosa was moved to the bullpen after that May 24 start in Boston, where he gave up seven runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.

In the bullpen, he worked extensively with bullpen coach Darren Holmes. De La Rosa used to have a pause in his delivery but scrapped that in his work with Holmes and pitching coach Steve Foster during the two weeks he spent as a reliever.

"Throwing more quality strikes than the beginning of the year," De La Rosa said. "My tempo is better. I think that was the key. I think I feel like more loose with this windup. They changed my mechanics, and it helped me to get better rhythm and throw the ball wherever I want to throw it.

"At the beginning (of the year), I just was fastball-changeup. That's why I'm pitching much better now. I started throwing my curveball more and I'm using my cutter more, too."

Archer (4-13, 4.68 ERA) has dropped his past six decisions since June 11, one shy of Drew Smyly's current losing streak for the longest by a Rays pitcher this season. Archer is one shy of matching his career-high, seven-game losing streak from Sept. 9, 2015-April 20, 2016. He has lost nine of his past 10 decisions, and his loss total leads the major leagues.

"You look at my numbers and the ERA is higher, but the swing-and-miss rates and the strikeout rates and a bunch of other things are (moving) in the right direction, especially if you remove the first month when I had a 6.70 ERA," Archer said. "I'm not saying that I'm pitching to my capability by any means."

Archer said he lacked his normal command early in the season but feels much better lately. He has 136 strikeouts and 49 walks in 117 1/3 innings and has yielded 20 home runs.

"I've been giving up a few extra runs than I'd like, but if you look at the overall numbers since probably the middle of May, they're better," Archer said. "Not great by any means ... but I feel a lot better than I did the first six weeks of the season, for sure."

While Archer will be facing the Rockies for the first time in his career, De La Rosa will oppose the Rays for the third time. He lost to Tampa Bay in a 2007 start and beat the Rays in a 2009 start, allowing a total of nine runs on 13 hits in eight innings.

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