|1:10 PM PT2:10 PM MT3:10 PM CT4:10 PM ET16:10 ET20:10 GMT4:10 1:10 PM MST3:10 PM EST3:40 PM VEN0:10 UAE (+1)3:10 PM CT, July 22, 2018
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona Attendance: 32,985
Senzatela to return as Rockies face Diamondbacks
PHOENIX -- The Colorado Rockies can and will hit. Still is. But the Rockies can trace their recent surge toward the top of the National League West to resurgent starting pitching.
The Rockies' starting rotation has a 2.82 ERA in its last 17 starts, including 10 quality starts, as Colorado has moved within one game of the division-leading Dodgers after leap-frogging Arizona with a 6-5 victory Saturday.
Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland had given up only four runs in his previous three starts before giving up four on Saturday. Tyler Anderson has made four straight quality starts and German Marquez had made three straight before giving up five runs in a no-decision in the Rockies' 11-10 victory Friday.
"Some pitching principles coming into play," Colorado manager Bud Black said of the strong run. "Strike one. Working ahead in the count. Putting hitters away early. Not getting back to full counts.
"Just the overall aggressiveness, setting the tone during the course of the game. Pounding the strike zone with all their pitches. Walks are down. Strikeouts are up. Pitch efficiency is much better. It sort of went from guy to guy to guy."
Since June 19, Colorado is third in the NL and fifth in the majors with a 3.63 team ERA. It marks the continued maturation of a young staff that includes second-year starters Freeland, Marquez, third-year starters Anderson and Jon Gray and Antonio Senzatela, who makes his third start of the season Sunday.
"These guys don't have seven-, eight-, nine-year careers yet, but they're getting there," Black said.
Senzatela, 3-2, will oppose against Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke.
The D-backs have lost 12 of their last 18, although their offense has come around. They have scored 15 runs in the first two games of the Colorado series after scoring 14 in the six games before the All-Star break.
"We just need to be ourselves," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said of the path going forward.
"Play fundamental baseball and expect the best outcomes, no matter what the circumstances are. That's been our mindset from Day 1. Since I met this group last year, we have gone out and had tremendous expectations. We have raised the bar on expectations.
"We need to embrace where we are today and not put too much pressure on ourselves. We know it is a very rugged NL West, and we are prepared for that. We've been walking through these lessons for a long time. We need to embrace what we have done and get ready for the next challenge."
Greinke, 10-5, has won his last five decisions covering six starts, five quality starts, and has given up only four runs in his last 31 2/3 innings, good for a 1.14 ERA. His season ERA is 3.18, eighth in the NL and the lowest it has been since his second start of the season.
He leads the NL with a 5.39:1 ratio of strikeouts per walks, striking out 124 while walking only 23. Washington's Max Scherzer, the Mets' Jacob deGrom and Arizona teammate Patrick Corbin are the only NL pitchers with at least 100 more strikeouts than walks. Opponents have one stolen base in five attempts against Greinke and personal catcher Jeff Mathis this season.
Greinke struck out nine and gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision in his first start of the season against Colorado on March 31, the third game of the season. He has faced the Rockies one other time this season, getting the win in a 5-4 victory at Coors Field on June 8. He gave up three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in that game.
Greinke is 10-5 with a 3.88 ERA in 27 career appearances, 26 starts, against the Rockies. He is 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 10 home starts this season after going 13-1 at home in 2017.
Senzatela will be activated from the 10-day disabled list to make his third start of the season Sunday, all of his starts coming since he rejoined the team in early July after spending nine weeks in the minors.
He pitched seven shutout innings in a 3-1 victory over San Francisco in his first game back July 3 but gave up six runs in six innings in his most recent start July 8 at Seattle. He is 3-2 with a 5.34 ERA in 12 games this season, 10 in relief. He is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in five career games, one start, against Arizona and is 1-2 with a 7.20 ERA on the road this season.
Updated July 22, 2018