Things haven’t gone particularly well recently for the Colorado Rockies.
Even with a modest three-game winning streak, which ended with a thud Friday night in Denver, the Rockies have struggled since opening the season with an 11-3 run. They are 5-13 since and have slipped three games behind the Padres in the race for the No. 2 playoff spot in the National League West.
But over the next three days, continuing Saturday night at Coors Field, the Padres will be offering the Rockies an opportunity.
After winning the opener of the four-game series 10-4 Friday night — after trailing 4-0 in the first inning — the Padres will be likely be using “bullpen” starts two of the next three days.
Several things come into play in this scenario: 1. Coors Field is a notorious black hole for bullpens; 2. San Diego’s bullpen has been struggling minus such key relievers as Kirby Yates and Drew Pomeranz; and 3. The Padres used their relievers for 3 1/3 innings (albeit they were scoreless) in Friday night’s series opener.
Left-hander Adrian Morejon (0-0, 5.79 earned run average) will start for the Padres Saturday night against Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela (3-1, 3.96).
And while Chris Paddack is scheduled to start on regular rest for the Padres Sunday, the starter for Monday’s series finale has yet to be determined because Dinelson Lamet’s scheduled start last Wednesday was pushed back a day when the Seattle Mariners and Padres opted not to play.
“It could be a combined effort,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler of the pitching outlook for Monday.
Morejon is considered a starter — and one of promise. The 21-year-old from Cuba is the Padres’ No. 8 prospect as a starting pitcher. But his first of two starts for the Padres lasted only three (hitless) innings on Aug. 18. And he gave up three runs on three hits in just 1 2/3 innings in his second start last Sunday.
“Morejon was being stretched out in the alternate camp before we activated him,” Tingler said. “We think he can go deeper.”
The Padres currently have 11 active relievers in their bullpen. Four worked Friday night. Eight have worked within the past two days. Two or those pitched multiple innings. Two of the 11 have ERAs over 10.00 and three more have ERAs that hover around 7.00.
You get the picture. It is blurred, making it vulnerable to the combination of the Rockies Charlie Blackmon-led offense and the Coors Field dynamics. “We need to make more of our opportunities,” Rockies manager Bud Black said recently.
Well, opportunity is knocking in the name of Padres pitching.
As for Saturday night, Sensatela, on paper, gives the Rockies an edge over Morejon and the bullpen.
The 25-year-old Venezuelan has a strong track record against the Padres.
The 6-foot-1, 236-pound Sensatela will be making his seventh start of 2020 season on Saturday. He has allowed 17 runs (16 earned) on 34 hits and six walks with 25 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings. Four of his first six starts have been on the road. One of the two at Coors Field was against the Padres, when Sensatela allowed one run on four hits and a walk with six strikeouts over six innings on Aug. 2.
Sensatela has a 7-1 career record against the Padres in 13 appearances (seven starts) with a 3.10 ERA. He has held the Padres to 21 runs (18 earned) on 46 hits and 13 walks with 40 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media