Rockies' rested Senzatela pitches against Padres (Jul 18, 2017)
DENVER -- Antonio Senzatela will return to the Colorado Rockies' rotation Tuesday after a brief stay in the bullpen designed to give him a breather and limit the innings in his rookie season.
The 22-year-old right-hander will be seeking to continue his success against the San Diego Padres, who will start rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet on his 25th birthday.
Senzatela's start will be his first for Colorado since June 22. At that point, Senzatela had 88 1/3 innings in 15 starts. Because Senzatela threw just 34 2/3 innings last year at Double-A Hartford when he was twice sidelined due to shoulder inflammation, the Rockies want to limit the right-hander's innings this season.
He made three relief appearances totaling five innings for the Rockies from June 26-July 7, then was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. He threw 61 pitches in 3 1/3 innings Thursday at Las Vegas, allowing four hits and one run with one walk and two strikeouts.
"I threw really good," Senzatela said of his start for Albuquerque, which was the first time he pitched at the Triple-A level. "Good fastball down, and my pitches were there."
Senzatela (9-3, 4.63 ERA) said after his three relief outings for the Rockies, starting will feel "like normal." He is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts this season against the Padres, on April 11 at Coors Field and May 3 at San Diego. The Rockies are 10-5 in games started by Senzatela.
Asked if were looking forward to returning to the Colorado rotation, Senzatela said, "I'm just looking forward to throwing a good game, good fastballs down and go as far as I can."
Senzatela went 7-1 with a 3.19 ERA in his first 10 career starts through May 26. However, in his next five starts through June 22 before his move to the bullpen, Senzatela went 2-2 with an 8.54 ERA.
Lamet (3-3, 5.93 ERA) will be making his ninth career start while facing the Rockies for the first time. He won his major league debut May 15 at New York against the Mets, allowing one run and three hits in five innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.
Lamet has held right-handed hitters to a .135 average (10-for-74), but left-handed batters are hitting .306 (26-for-85) against him. Lamet is 1-2 with an 8.00 ERA in four road starts and 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA in four starts at home.
The Padres are 5-3 in starts by Lamet, who has allowed 36 hits, including 10 home runs, in 41 innings with 15 walks and 55 strikeouts.
He pitched a career-high seven innings June 29 against the Atlanta Braves, holding them scoreless on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts while winning 6-0. But in his next start, July 6 at Cleveland, the last time Lamet pitched, he gave up six hits and six runs (five earned) in four innings with four walks and five strikeouts. He took the loss in the Indians' 11-2 win.
"It's a fastball that plays up in the zone, and it's as good a slider as anybody has in the game," Padres manager Andy Green said. "Command is his struggle. If he's got command and is attacking aggressively, it's really good stuff.
"He's been in the zone fairly consistently for most of his outings, and a couple times he hasn't, he's had to fight. But it's real stuff. It's a real fastball, a real slider, and he's got an opportunity to blow guys away with his stuff."