Rockies' Senzatela seeks to keep Padres off balance
Antonio Senzatela started the season on the injured list and wasn't guaranteed a spot in the Colorado Rockies rotation when he was ready to be activated.
Tyler Anderson's left knee inflammation and ineffectiveness opened the door for the Senzatela, and he took advantage of it with a solid debut on April 15. Coincidentally, that first start of 2019 came against the Padres in San Diego, and now he gets an opportunity to face them again in the final of a three-game series Sunday in Denver.
The Padres will send rookie Nick Margevicius to the mound to try to win the rubber match of the three-game series. Colorado won 12-2 on Friday and the Padres took Saturday's game, 4-3.
Senzatela (2-2, 5.67 ERA) baffled San Diego in the first matchup four weeks ago, allowing just one run in 6 2/3 innings. The young right-hander has been doing that to the Padres in his short career, but he changed his approach last month by using his breaking pitches to hold the San Diego lineup to six hits.
Senzatela worked on mixing his pitches more while rehabbing from an infected blister.
"We've heard that from our people in extended spring training and in Albuquerque," manager Bud Black said after Colorado's 5-2 win in San Diego. "So that's the next step. You have to have a mix of pitches, and they have to be major-league quality. What we saw tonight was just that."
Senzatela has faced the Padres 11 times, more than any other opponent, and five of those were starts. He is 5-1 with a 3.18 ERA in his career against San Diego, including his first big-league win in his second overall start. In that game on April 11, 2017, he went seven innings and allowed just two runs.
Senzatela is a grizzled veteran compared to Margevicius (2-3, 3.47). The left-hander has made just seven career starts but one of them came against the Rockies. He tossed four innings in San Diego's 8-2 loss on April 16. He entered his first game against Colorado with a 1.69 ERA but was tagged for five runs in four innings against the Rockies.
The positive in that start was his seven strikeouts against one walk. It was only his second walk in his first four starts, but he has struggled more with his control in his last three outings, issuing 11 free passes.
Margevicius wasn't even sure he was going to make the team out of spring training, but he got the call from general manager A.J. Preller on March 28 that he was heading to the bigs.
It was a quick rise through the San Diego system after he was taken in the seventh round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Rider University. He pitched with four minor league teams and now is trying to stick with the Padres by aggressively attacking the strike zone.
"I throw strikes," Margevicius told the Rider News. "I have been able to keep hitters off balance and throw the ball where I want to. It's a little different than today's style, but it's what has made me successful."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 12, 2019