DENVER — Antonio Senzatela will make his Coors Field debut and second major league start when he takes the mound Tuesday for the Colorado Rockies against the San Diego Padres.
He will be trying to help the Rockies even the three-game series following a 5-3 loss on Monday. Jered Weaver will start for the Padres.
Senzatela (0-0) pitched five innings at Milwaukee on Thursday in his major league debut, allowing no runs, two hits and three walks with six strikeouts while throwing 93 pitches, 56 strikes.
A native of Venezuela, Senzatela, 22, vaulted to the big leagues from Double-A Hartford, where he went 4-1 with a 1.82 ERA last year but only made seven starts and none after mid-June. Senzatela twice dealt with shoulder soreness and then returned to Venezuela to be with his mother, who died of stomach cancer in July.
Senzatela has outstanding command — particularly for such a young pitcher — of a mid-90s fastball, a very good changeup, a rapidly improving slider and a curveball that he doesn’t use as a strikeout pitch but will use to get strikes early in the count.
In spring training, Senzatela had three walks and 21 strikeouts in 27 1/3 Cactus League innings. In addition to his pitching prowess, he has impressed the Rockies with his mound demeanor and composure.
“I like the fastball, like the fastball command,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I like the delivery that he repeats. This guy pitches with a fierceness. He has a heartbeat that I think can sustain trouble.”
Weaver is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA after giving up five runs, four earned, and five hits, including two homers, Thursday at Los Angeles in a 10-2 loss to the Dodgers. Weaver threw 82 pitches, none of which reached 86 mph.
A 34-year-old veteran who spent his entire career before this season with the Los Angeles Angels, Weaver has never pitched at Coors Field. He is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA against the Rockies, having made one start against them in 2010.
San Diego center fielder Manuel Margot and right fielder Hunter Renfroe played at Coors Field for the first time Monday, and left fielder Travis Jankowski made his fifth start in his 10th career game there.
With its vast outfield, Coors Field is a different — and often difficult — place to play the outfield. But Padres manager Andy Green said he told his three young outfielders to look at the Coors Field outfield “as an opportunity to change the game” defensively.
“It’s as big as any outfield in baseball,” Green added. “I remember the first time I went out to left field here … I looked over to center field and thought I’m on an island all by myself. It’s huge when you’re out there for the first time.
“Those three guys all got speed, all are capable of being plus outfielders. We told them to look at that as like an opportunity to score out in the field.”