Rockies angling for season series win against Cubs
by Stats.com | FLMon
The Colorado Rockies didn't have many highlights on their recent six-game road trip, but Antonio Senzatela's start against the New York Mets on Friday night was one of them.
Senzatela tossed six solid innings in the win in New York to continue his strong stretch of outings. He has logged three consecutive quality starts and five overall. He'll try to make it four in a row when he faces the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday afternoon.
Chicago will send left-hander Cole Hamels to the mound for the series' final game. The Rockies won the first two, including Tuesday night's 10-3 victory.
Senzatela (5-4, 4.95 ERA) has become a solid part of a Colorado rotation that has been struggling to find some consistency. Last year's ace, Kyle Freeland, is in Triple-A to work out his issues and Tyler Anderson is on the 60-day injured list with a left knee chondral defect.
Senzatela has filled one of the voids, including a win against last year's NL Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom on Friday.
"There is a composure element that we are seeing, and there is an element where, when some pitches have to be made, he's getting that out," Rockies manager Bud Black said after Senzatela's last start. "That's critical and it happened a couple of times tonight."
Senzatela, who didn't strike out a batter in his six innings, said going against the Cy Young Award winner was a motivating factor.
"Before the game, when I was warming up, I looked on the other side and saw it was deGrom, and I felt like I had to throw a good game to give us a chance to win," he said.
He will be making his fourth career appearance and third start against the Cubs. He is 1-0 with a 7.50 ERA against them, and his one win came at home.
A win in Wednesday's getaway game would give Colorado the season series against Chicago. The Cubs took two of three at Wrigley last week, and they'll try to steal one with Hamels going. The lefty has fared well in Denver's thinner air, posting a 2-2 record and 3.79 ERA in six career games, all starts.
Overall against Colorado he is 4-4 with a 3.20 ERA in 11 career starts. The Rockies were able to avoid Hamels last week, which might have helped them win one in Chicago. Hamels (5-2, 3.24) struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings against St. Louis on Friday.
It was the second time this season he pitched eight innings and it was his most dominant start of the year. Manager Joe Maddon said Hamels' ability to get ahead in the count was key.
"The first three or four innings, it seemed like everything was 1-2," Maddon said after the 3-1 win. "Great command of his changeup. Fastball was hotter. I saw more 92 (mph pitches) and 93 (mph pitches) consistently today. So hotter fastball, total command of his changeup and much better counts. So when you get to that point, hitters just can't relax and sit on things. He was unpredictable and very accurate."