Rockies hope to rely on more than Arenado vs. D-backs
Nolan Arenado didn't hit his first home run this season until April 14, which surprised many people who watched him average 39.5 home runs for the Colorado Rockies the previous four years.
Any worries that the 28-year-old All-Star was going to have an off year have been allayed with a monstrous May. Arenado is hitting .419 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs this month, and he tormented Baltimore Orioles pitching over the weekend with four home runs and nine RBIs.
On Monday, he recorded his seventh straight multi-hit game and tied the score with a two-run single in the seventh inning against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arenado is showing his new eight-year, $260 million contract isn't taking away from his game, leading the team with his glove and his bat. He got the winning rally started against the Orioles on Sunday when he led off the ninth with a single -- his third hit of the game.
"When Nolan's swinging well, he carries the torch," Rockies manager Bud Black said.
The Rockies hope the pitching staff can pick up some slack, too, and Monday was a positive step. Starter Jon Gray allowed just two runs in 5 1/3 innings in Colorado's 4-3, 11-inning win over the Diamondbacks in the opener of a four-game series in Denver.
On Tuesday, Antonio Senzatela will start for Colorado against Arizona's Merrill Kelly, who will face the Rockies for the first time. Both right-handers are trying to bounce back from poor outings in their previous starts.
Kelly (4-5, 4.75 ERA) survived just 1 2/3 innings in a loss to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday. The rookie allowed four runs on five hits. It was the second time in four starts he failed to go beyond the fourth inning in a rotation that has consistently pitched deep into games.
"I love the idea that our guys are pitching into the sixth inning and through the sixth inning," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo told The Arizona Republic. "They're a very good group of starting pitchers that we're going to rely on every night. I think the success of our team is going to be built upon starting pitching."
The Rockies would like to rely on their starters, but outside of German Marquez and Gray, their rotation has struggled. Senzatela (3-4, 6.21 ERA) has scuffled in his five May starts, going 1-3 with a 7.99 ERA. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings in a loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday -- the shortest start of his career.
"It was a little bit rough for Antonio, for sure," Black said after the Rockies' 14-6 loss to the Pirates. "He couldn't seem to get anything going as far as stringing pitches together."
Senzatela has struggled in eight appearances, four starts, against the Diamondbacks, going 1-4 with a 6.14 ERA. As a starter, he is 1-3 against Arizona in his career.
Both teams are dealing with injuries to key players. Arizona put right-handed starter Luke Weaver on the 10-day injured list due to right forearm tightness, and the Rockies placed outfielder Charlie Blackmon on the IL, retroactive to Friday, because of a strained right calf.
Weaver left his Sunday outing at San Francisco due to the arm ailment, but he still got the win after throwing five innings of one-run ball.
"I spoke to Luke this morning," Lovullo said before Monday's game. "He said he felt good, just normal body aches and a little bit of overall fatigue that comes with the day after his starts. He's going to remain optimistic, he's going to receive some good news."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 28, 2019