The Rockies have opened the 2020 season with three straight series victories for the first time since 1995. They’ve been able to do so with quality performances from the starting rotation that seemed to be absent for most of the 2019 season. Antonio Senzatela stymied Padres hitters all afternoon keeping them to one run over six innings of work. Daniel Murphy led the Rockies at the plate going 4-for-4 with a HR, 2 RBI, and 2 R. The win puts the Rockies record at 6-2 and atop the NL West, a half-game above the Dodgers.
Antonio Senzatela was in control for most of the afternoon, consistently painting the outside of the strike zone and keeping the Padres off-balance effectively mixing his slider, curveball, and changeup with a healthy dose of the fastball. Senzatela’s only real struggle was in the sixth inning when Jake Cronenworth led off with a triple. He nearly escaped the jam unscathed but left a slider too high in the zone for Manny Machado on a 1-2 count which he stroked into left field for a double. The final line for Senzatela was 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K.
More home runs, please and thank you
Rockies hitters poured in nine more runs on the day, five of which were scored via the long ball. Murphy got things started with a blast to right field on a Zach Davies changeup.
Matt Kemp got his second home run in a Rockies uniform in as many nights with a two-run jack in the third inning to put the Rockies up 3-0. Ryan McMahon then lifted one over the center field fence with Murphy aboard in the sixth inning to make the score 5-1. Chris Owings came home on a David Dahl RBI single in the seventh to extend the lead to 6-1. Three more runs came home in the seventh on a double by Charlie Blackmon followed by a single off the bat of Murphy.
Prior to the game, Wade Davis, the controversial choice coming into the season as the incumbent closer, was placed on the 10-day injured list (IL) with no clear replacement option. Daniel Bard was first up today and pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning. In the eighth inning, however, James Pazos struggled to keep the Padres at bay and allowed four base runners before giving the ball to Carlos Estévez with the bases loaded and two outs having already surrendered one run. Estévez let up a bases-clearing double to Wil Myers making the score 9-5 before retiring Jurickson Profar to end the inning. Estévez stayed in the game for the ninth and allowed a lead-off triple to Josh Naylor, who scored on an RBI groundout, then retired the next two hitters before allowing a double to Trent Grisham. Jairo Díaz came in and needed only one pitch to get the final out. Díaz appears to be the most likely candidate to get the next shot as closer. The bullpen hierarchy will be closely monitored over the next few games as Bud Black mostly certainly wants to find a solution for the vacant closer role.
The Rockies will open up a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants tomorrow with Chi Chi González taking the mound for his first start of the season against Johnny Cueto.