SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – For Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela, the first seven starts of 2021 weren’t much different than what he did the next five months.
Senzatela went 1-4 with a 5.97 ERA in those early starts. From there, his earned run average was 3.98, including 2.99 over a 10-start stretch between Aug. 5 and Sept. 26. The difference was having stopped making mistakes at key moments.
Senzatela, 27, hasn’t had an All-Star season like countryman and teammate Germán Márquez did in 2021. He hasn’t finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting, like he has. Kyle Freeland did it in 2018.
But the Rockies saw enough in the Venezuelan to assign him the ball for Game 1 of the NL Division Series in 2018 and to give him a five-year, $50.5 million contract. The club thinks the right-hander is capable of reaching new heights. That occasional bad pitch is often the difference between receiving consideration and being an under-the-radar talent.
“I just have to limit the mistakes,” Senzatela said. “I think I have more confidence. When I trust myself, I shoot better.”
But in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Angels, Senzatela had two misplaced fastballs that resulted in home runs.
On the bright side, his slider looked good throughout his 62-pitch, four-inning performance. He has also maintained his development with the change. At the end of it all, it’s still a preseason game. The first three episodes of him were dominant.
“I keep going; I turn the page”, said the mound. “I’ll be working on my bullpen in two days and doing my last start of the camps.”
Senzatela and manager Bud Black will be pleased if the right-hander can avoid that bad pitching before games start counting down.
“That, to me, is what defines a quality starter,” Black said. “I’ve always said that at certain points in the game, the starter will be under pressure. His ability to throw a good pitch makes the difference between a good start and a bad start.”
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Senzatela is focused on “limiting errors”