Antonio Senzatela settles into rhythm in return from Rockies’ COVID-injured list – The Denver Post

All Antonio Senzatela needed was one game back.

The big right-hander, out of big-league action since the all-star break, returned to the Rockies rotation Thursday in their 6-5 win over the Cubs at Coors Field.

Over 4 2/3 innings, he struck out six, all in succession, starting with Sergio Alcantara in the second. He finished with eight strikeouts, his most in a start since June 8.

He cruised through four innings, up until a crumbling fifth where he gave up four runs, all earned. That began with Wilson Contreras stroking a slider for a line-drive hit off the center field wall.

“The ball started climbing up a bit in the fourth and fifth inning,” manager Bud Black said. “… I’m assuming he got a little tired.”

Black said he thought it was a combination of exhaustion and the 89-degree heat that affected Senzatela’s execution in the fifth inning. But Senzatela insisted he wasn’t tired at all and felt “really good.”

“I think I just missed a couple pitches, and they got lucky,” he said. “Everything’s working really good.”

Senzatela, 26, appeared in one minor league start July 31 before returning to the majors, tossing four scoreless innings with three hits, three strikeouts and no walks. He threw 40 pitches, followed by an extra 20 in the bullpen for extra arm strength practice. On Thursday, he threw 75.

“We’re into August, so he’s got a lot of innings under his belt and a lot of pitches,” Black said. “But overall, I thought he threw the ball in a nice stretch there.”

Senzatela significantly improved over the last two years, most notably rebounding from a 6.71 ERA in 2019 to a 3.44 ERA in 2020. In 2021, the Rockies expected even more from him, but a right groin strain in May and time on the COVID-IL set him back.

But, Thursday’s start was a great way for Senzatela to gain momentum and play his way into the rotation once again.

“He’s been off for a couple weeks and coming back from the virus, so it was understandable if he was (tired), but I still thought he was making pitches,” Black said.

On Deck

Marlins RHP Sandy Alcantara (6-9, 3.12 ERA) at Rockies RHP Germán Márquez (9-8, 3.51)

6:40 p.m. Friday, Coors Field

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM

Márquez, a first-time all-star, will make his 23rd start and 13th at Coors Field. In his last appearance, Márquez needed only 14 pitches to strike out three Padres hitters in succession in the fourth inning. He also blasted a 418-foot homer to center field, the second home run of his five-year career. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.53 ERA over his last seven home starts. He ranks third in the National League in quality starts with 15. Miami’s Alcantara had a dominant performance in his first start of August in the Marlins’ loss to the New York Yankees on Aug. 1. He pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and a walk in a no-decision. He matched a season-high with 10 strikeouts. Alcantara, 25, has started two games in his career vs. the Rockies, going 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA. Over the two games, he pitched 15 innings, striking out eight and walking four. Friday marks his second game at Coors Field. In his first outing, he pitched seven innings but took the loss.

Trending: Raimel Tapia extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 2-for-5 outing. Tapia is 17-for-40 with four doubles and four RBIs during the streak.

At issue: Catcher Dom Nunez hit 1-for-3 with a walk on Thursday, but for the season he’s still hitting .172.

Pitching probables

Saturday: Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-4, 6.70) at Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (8-6, 4.04), 6:10 p.m., ATTRM

Sunday: Marlins TBD at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (2-6, 4.46), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM

Monday: Off

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