Rockies Rotation Juggling Begins With Addition of Senzatela And Then. ...

The Rockies are the only team in the National League that has used only five starting pitches since Opening Day.

That's about to change.

Antonio Senzatela gets the call on Tuesday night against the Giants. Senzatela opened the season in the bullpen, and then spent the last two months at Triple-A Albuquerque stretching out to return to the role of a starter while battling a minor groin strain.

Senzatela was impressive in his starts for the Isotopes -- when he wasn't battling a groin strain that sidelined him twice and limited his work load in his first start after being sidelined a second time.

A OKAY AT TRIPLE-A

DATE OPP W L ERA IP H ER BB SO
5/5/2018 ELP 0 0 2.25 4 2 1 1 8
5/10/2018 @RNO 1 0 1 5 4 0 2 4
5/15/2018 @LV 1 0 2.57 5 5 3 1 6
5/26/2018 @SAC 0 1 2.25 6 4 1 0 6
5/31/2018 FRE 0 0 2.08 6 5 1 2 9
6/6/2018 @IOW 0 0 2.7 0.2 2 2 2 0
6/23/2018 @FRE 0 0 2.7 3.1 4 1 3 5
6/28/2018 SAC 1 0 2.15 7.2 3 0 1 4
TOTALS 3 1 2.15 37.2 29 9 12 42

Senzatela replaces Jon Gray, who was sent to Albuquerque during the weekend to work on developing consistency.

And a seventh member of the rotation could be on the way. 

Chad Bettis came out of his Sunday start in Los Angeles after three innings because of a recurring blister problem. He was placed on the disabled list Tuesday. The Rockies used his spot to activate Senzatela, and Rockies manager Bud Black said with the Rockies off on Thursday and Monday, he will keep the four current starting pitchers on their regular four days rest instead of giving them an extra day.

As a result the Rockies won't need another starter until July 14, two days before the All-Star Break.

Freeland will start Saturday in Seattle, and Senzatela on Sunday. With the Rockies off next Monday, they could use Tyler Anderson, German Marquez, Freeland and Senzatela on regular rest before having to fill a rotation void in that game against the Mariners at Coors Field.

“It came out of nowhere in May, and throughout (each) game it continued to get worse,” Bettis said. “(Sunday), kind of the same thing. It flared up a little bit in my pre-game bullpen, and then inning-to-inning it just continued to get worse and affect all of my pitches at extension.”

While Bettis has tried to pitch through the finger issue, it is apparent it was a struggle. He was 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his first seven starts, average 6 1/3 innings pitched. 

In his 10 starts since May 11, Bettis is 1-0 with a 7.71 ERA. He has allowed five or more runs in six of the starts, and has had only one quality start.

This 10 Isn't Pretty

Date Opponent W L IP H R ER HR BB IBB HB SO
5/11/2018 Mil L 11-10 0 0 5 10 7 7 1 3 0 0 3
5/17/2018 @SF W 5-3 0 0 6 5 3 3 1 2 0 0 5
5/22/2018 @LAD L 5-3 0 0 5 3 2 2 0 3 0 0 4
5/28/2018 SF W 6-5 0 0 6 10 5 5 1 0 0 0 2
6/3/2018 LAD L 10-7 0 0 5.2 7 5 5 2 0 0 0 6
6/9/2018 Ari L 12-7 0 0 4 5 5 5 3 2 0 2 6
6/15/2018 @Tex W 9-5 1 0 5.2 6 5 5 2 3 0 0 6
6/20/2018 NYM W 10-8 0 0 4.2 9 8 8 0 5 1 0 4
6/26/2018 @SF L 3-2 0 0 6.1 6 2 2 1 4 2 0 4
7/1/2018 @LAD L 6-4 0 0 3 2 2 2 0 2 0 1 2
W L INN H R ER HR BB IBB HB SO
Totals ERA 7.71 1 0 51.1 63 44 44 11 24 3 3 42

When the Rockies need a fifth starter, they could recall right-hander Jon Gray or Jeff Hoffman, who was among the starters on the staff last year, but opened this season on the disabled list. He was eventually activated and optioned to the Isotopes. He made a recent appearance with the Rockies in a relief role, but was sent back to Albuquerque to continue to work as a starting pitcher.

The concern with Gray was the inconsistency from one start to another. He was dominating in the seven games he won, but struggled in his 10 other starts.

THREE SHADES OF GRAY

Situation W L G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA
Wins 7 0 7 7 45 35 9 9 3 9 57 2.57
Losses 0 7 7 7 34.2 54 37 36 5 14 41 9.42
No Decisions 1 2 3 3 12.3 19 15 14 3 6 21 10.22
Totals 7 7 17 17 92 108 61 59 11 29 119 5.77

The consistent in the rotation has been right-hander Kyle Freeland, a native of Denver who is on pace to put together the best season ever at Coors Field. Only one pitcher who worked 60 or more innings at Coors Field in a season has an ERA lower than Freeland's current 2.89 -- Jorge De La Rosa, who had a 2.76 ERA in 2013. 

W L ERA GS INN H R ER HR BB SO
2018 5 2 2.89 7 43.2 34 14 14 7 17 37
2017 6 8 3.72 16 87 89 41 36 7 35 66
Totals 11 10 3.44 23 130.2 123 55 50 14 52 103

And his 3.44 career ERA at Coors Field is the lowest for any pitcher who made at least 20 starts in the Rockies home park. He is one of only three pitchers with at least 20 starts who has an ERA below 4.00 at Coors Field, and one of only 11 with an ERA below 5.00 at Coors Field.

Coors Field Survivors

Player Season ERA
Kyle Freeland 2017-2018(2) 3.44
Ubaldo Jimenez 2006-2011(6) 3.67
Tyler Anderson 2016-2018(3) 3.86
Jhoulys Chacin 2009-2014(6) 4.21
Jorge De La Rosa 2008-2016(9) 4.31
Byung-hyun Kim 2005-2007(3) 4.56
Aaron Cook 2002-2011(10) 4.65
Joe Kennedy 2004-2005(2) 4.72
Jon Gray 2015-2018(4) 4.75
Jeff Francis 2004-2013(8) 4.92
Jason Hammel 2009-2011(3) 4.95