DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin learned from a young age that staying poised on the mound would be key to making it to the Major Leagues.
"When I was pitching in the Dominican [Summer League], they always told us, 'The faster you mature, the more successful you'll be,'" said Chacin, who was signed out of Venezuela when he was 16 as a non-drafted free agent. "They told me to put all my concentration on what I needed to do and be a man, even though I was just a young guy."
That kind of maturity has been evident in Chacin's second full season with the Rockies, as he has avoided any talk of a sophomore slump by becoming the team's most reliable starter.
With left-hander Jorge De La Rosa out for the year after Tommy John surgery, and ace Ubaldo Jimenez unable to find his form through the first six weeks of the season, Chacin has been a steadying force, posting a 7-4 record with a 2.90 ERA through 13 starts. His .199 batting average against was second in the National League entering Sunday's action. He threw eight dominant shutout innings against the Dodgers on Friday.
Chacin, 23, knows the expectations have risen following his fast start, but the key to his success, he said, is not shouldering too much responsibility.
"Every time you pitch, you try to do the best you can," he said. "If you think about [carrying the load], you put too much pressure on yourself. You just do what you can do. Sometimes you pitch good, and some of the time I don't, but I don't try to think about. I just try to do my job and help the team to win."
Chacin, who will make his next start on Wednesday against the Padres, has given his team a chance to win more times than not, and he's done enough in manager Jim Tracy's eyes to warrant consideration for an All-Star bid.
"How could you say no with what he's done?" Tracy said. "And he's getting better. You're seeing something very special evolving here. This guy has top-of-the-rotation stuff, he's a competitive son of a gun."