Colorado Rockies morning after: Senzatela crosses a milestone to watch
By Kevin Henry
Antonio Senzatela crossed an important threshold for the Colorado Rockies on Monday night in his start against the Detroit Tigers at Coors Field.
With his 86 pitches thrown over 3.2 innings of work, Senzatela crossed over the 2,000-pitch mark this season. In his rookie season, he joins fellow rookies Kyle Freeland (2,241 pitches) and German Marquez (2,075 pitches) as the only Colorado pitchers to go over the mark. Tyler Chatwood will join them soon as he sits at 1,979 pitches.
Chatwood, who was warming up in the Rockies bullpen but wasn’t used on Monday night, will bring the number of pitchers with 2,000 pitches thrown to four for the season. Last season, there were four as well (Chatwood, Jon Gray, Chad Bettis and Jorge De La Rosa). Before that, you need to go back to 2010 for the last time the Rockies had four pitchers throw 2,000 pitches or more in a season. In 2012, there were zero.
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It speaks to not only Colorado’s durability from their young pitchers this season, but also the amount of work they have put in this season … with still the most important month of the season to come.
Colorado manager Bud Black has said that he is not concerned about limiting innings for his starters for the rest of the season. However, at 86 pitches on Monday night with an out still remaining in the fourth, he decided he had seen enough from his 22-year-old right-hander, who earned the loss in Detroit’s 4-3 victory and dropped to 10-5 on the season.
"“His pitch count was driven up early in the game so we were keeping an eye on him,” Black said. “From the first inning on, when I think he threw 26 pitches, that’s not a great start.“The efficiency just hasn’t been there.”"
Monday’s start was just the third in seven outings for Senzatela in August, but his second consecutive one as a starter. It was also the shortest one of his career. Senzatela said after the game that his command simply wasn’t there in this late-August matchup where every game matters.
"“I felt good mechanically but I didn’t have good command,” said Senzatela, who has pitched five or fewer innings in each of his last six starts dating back to June 22."
Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy noticed something different from Senzatela on Monday night, noting his command was lacking.
"“He wasn’t himself out there tonight for sure,” Lucroy said. “He wasn’t throwing the amount of strikes that he usually does. We were trying to mix up a little early. His fastball, he was leaving up a little bit. We just tried to start mixing and just couldn’t get it going. We couldn’t get the pitches executed right. He was battling. He was grinding from the get-go.“He’s a young starter. Sometimes those guys go out there and tend to press in big situations. We have to get him right and get him back going because we’re going to need him.”"
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The Rockies will need Senzatela and their other young pitchers to come through in late August and September the way they did early in the season. With roster expansion coming on September 1, there will likely be fresh arms in the bullpen. However, Colorado will still need production out of those who have been here all season and helped them be in position to earn their first postseason bid since 2009.