Senzatela shows composure on emotional Mother’s Day

May 14, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela (49) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
May 14, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela (49) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports /

Bud Black’s mother never had a driver’s license. The Colorado Rockies’ manager had to get creative, growing up, on how he would get to his baseball games. When you ask him how he got to the ballpark, his answer may remind you of the answer your grandfather always gave.

"“Walked uphill,” Black said with a sly smile."

Black’s dad was often working so he would get a ride with his sister or his teammates parents or ride his bike. While his mother wasn’t able to make it to all of his games, it didn’t mean she didn’t care any less.

"“In professional baseball where there are some focal points to what we do for a living, you know our moms always had a special place in our hearts as we grew as young athletes into professional athletes,” Black said."

"“For me I’m not different from any other person. My mom even if I gave up 10 runs, four homers and had a bad game, you know what she would say? Buddy you did well, you’ll get them next time.”"

Antonio Senzatela

Mother’s Day has a whole different meaning to the game’s starter Antonio Senzatela. Last year Senzatela lost his mother to cancer in Venezuela. The rookie has rose to ever occasion in his young career with his task of facing the Dodgers for the first time being the most emotional.

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It wasn’t his best start but the righty did enough to get the win, pitching five innings and gave up four runs (a career high). None of that matters when he improved his record to 6-1 tying Clayton Kershaw with the most wins in the National League. Senzatela couldn’t have honored his mother any better on the diamond.

The Rockies earned the series split winning 9-6 and maintained a 1.5 game lead over the Dodgers. After the big win, Senzatela kept the composure he had on the field.

"“I feel good. Too many emotions,” Senzatela said describing the day. “I didn’t do a really good job but I just try to keep it in the game there. We got the win. That’s the most important [thing].”"

Senzatela said he felt that he’d be taken out in the fourth but he felt really strong when he got to the fifth an inning where he didn’t give up any runs. After giving up runs in the first three innings, Senzatela gave his team a chance to win by shutting out the Dodgers in the next two innings. While his secondary pitches weren’t showing up today, Senzatela’s best attribute was his composure.

"“You could tell he was a little emotional before the game. This game means a little more to him than anyone in the clubhouse,” Senzatela’s battery mate Dustin Garneau said. “I think he was a little jacked up early in the game (really wasn’t hitting his spots and wasn’t keeping his command like he usually has) but after those first three innings he gave us five. Which was huge which helped our bullpen out. He showed his maturity in those last two innings big time.”"

The bullpen needed all the help it could get today as the Rockies used seven pitchers to secure the win. The team will get a much needed day off before the longest road trip of the year. Even with a roller coaster day for the bullpen, Greg Holland was the constant again in this game as he recorded 16 saves in as many opportunities which sets the Rockies franchise record for converted saves to start a season. (The previous record was 15 held by Jose Jimenez in 2002).

"“I try to stay pretty complacent, try to stay pretty even keel as I can,” Holland said describing how he feels after his record breaking save. “I’m not concerned about what I was before my [Tommy John] surgery. I feel confident. Buddy has confidence in any of us. Having that depth keeps guys fresh. You enjoy knowing you have a really good chance to pitch today. Everybody is ready all the time. I’ve enjoyed [the fans support] and I want to keep the ball rolling, keep winning, and keep filling the stadium up.”"

Pat Valaika 

The mood in a packed Coors Field dwindled in the eighth when the Dodgers scored two to cut the Rockies lead to one. That didn’t phase Pat Valaika who hit his second home run of the game while filling in for Trevor Story, earning a career-high four RBIs. The home run gave the Rockies some breathing room and made this park sound the loudest it has in years.

Mark Reynolds may be shaping Valaika’s persona in the clubhouse, who gave him the nickname “Patty Barrels”, but his mother has a different name for him.

"“Not that my dad was hard on me but he wanted me to succeed in baseball and [my mom] was always a calming presence. I could always go to her. She didn’t care if I was 0-4 or 4-4. I’m just Patrick to her.”"

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