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Antonio Senzatela and the elusive pitcher win

Rockies news and links for Wednesday, August 25, 2021

It’s safe to say that the pitcher win doesn’t hold the weight it used to. Seemingly every year, starting pitchers toss less innings, get more rest, and generally have less impact in the outcome of a ballgame. Whether that development is a good thing or a bad thing is subjective, of course, but we’re not here today to talk about aesthetics.

We’re here to talk about oddities, poor luck, you name it. Regardless of how you feel about the pitcher win as a stat, it’s tough to deny that it’s still an interesting number and a cool novelty at the very least. Every game has a winning pitcher and a losing pitcher, after all, so even if it’s not a good tool for analyzing performance, it remains worthy of tracking just for the context it provides. Does a starter have an ERA below 3.00 but his win-loss record looks something like 8-7? That probably means he’s either taking some really tough losses due to bad run support, or maybe he’s not pitching very deep into games, so he can’t get many wins. And here’s where Antonio Senzatela comes into play.

Senza doesn’t really have the whole “doesn’t pitch deep” problem for modern standards. Since his last win on June 3rd, he’s pitched at least six innings in eight of his ten starts. Even if your run support is poor, luck dictates that you’re likely to get a win at least once in ten turns, right? His ERA during that stretch has been 4.37, in line with his season average. What’s going on? I think it’s time to take a look at each start and see what happened. We’ll determine whether he deserved a win, a loss, or a no decision.

Final line? 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 0 HR

Decision? LOSS (2-6)

The damage in this one was all in one bad inning, a five-hit, four-run bottom of the third. Senza entered the frame leading 1-0, but those four runs were way too much for the Road Rockies to overcome. Did he deserve the loss? Yes. He was badly outpitched by his mound opponent, Pablo López, who tossed eight innings of two-run ball. Six innings is fine, four runs is not. An actual offense might’ve made this a no-decision, but I won’t be ridiculous here.

Final line? 6.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

Decision? LOSS (2-7)

Again, it’s the Road Rockies doing Senza no favors. If anyone thought he was holding the red-hot Reds (solid wordplay) to one run or less at Great American Ball Park, well... no. Still, even after a three-run second, Senza recovered to get through six innings with just those three runs on the board. The problem? He came back out for the seventh trailing 3-2, and allowed the first two batters he faced to reach before getting pulled. Both scored, of course. It’s not like his opponent pitched a gem, because Tony Santillan didn’t get through five, but still... five earned runs. This one was a deserved loss.

Final line? 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

Decision? ND

A game where Senza left the game with the lead (albeit just a one-run lead) before the bullpen blew the win for him. There was also an error that allowed a run to score and extended an inning, by the way. Senza outpitched Corbin Burnes and despite this not being a great performance, he still had a lead blown for him. I can’t say this was a travesty of a no-decision, however.

Final line? 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Decision? ND

Another start against the Brewers, another game where Senza left with a lead. This one’s not bad at all, though, it was a one-run lead again and Senza only got through five innings. He struggled to end plate appearances early, which is something he’s typically very good at. Again, not a bad no-decision.

Final line? 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

Decision? ND

This was a terrific pitcher’s duel between Senza and Adam Wainwright, who tossed eight innings of two-run ball. Both starters pitched brilliantly, neither got a win as a result. Perfectly normal no-decision.

Final line? 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Decision? LOSS (2-8)

You expected a Rockies starter to allow three runs on the road and take anything other than a loss? Good joke! The D-Backs piggybacked the game, so it’s not like Senza had an opponent to judge him against, but three runs across six innings is a passable start that should keep a team in the game. Not the Road Rockies, of course. Is it a deserved loss? Eh, not really, but considering the team we’re talking about... it makes sense. Sadly.

Final line? 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Decision? ND

This one really sucked. Senza cruised through four innings in his return from the COVID list before falling apart in the fifth, being lucky enough that the Rockies were playing at Coors Field this time, and therefore could actually score runs. A no-decision that could’ve been a loss, and let’s move on.

Final line? 6.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Decision? LOSS (2-9)

Road Rockies, facing Framber Valdez, facing the best offense in baseball. Senza did well to allow just three runs in six innings considering who he faced and how hard they hit him all game long. A tough loss, but them’s the breaks.

Final line? 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Decision? ND

Oh man, this one got me upset. Senza pitched masterfully against the Dads at Coors Field, inducing sixteen grounders in total and being in total command through seven innings, outdueling Ryan Weathers by a mile. What happened in the 9th? Daniel Bard, pitching with a three-run lead and with only three outs to get, allowed three runs, blowing the save and costing Senzatela a much deserved W. This one was absolutely taken from him.

Final line? 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 HR

Decision? ND

Copy and paste, folks. Senza pitched brilliantly, and the bullpen blew a three-run lead (featuring walking the bases loaded!) to once again leave him with a no-decision. Against the terrible Cubs, mind you. The spirit of the Road Rockies is strong.

So, what do we have? Two games he should’ve won, two that were logical losses, and six no-decisions of differing levels of bad. He could’ve perfectly gone 3-2, even 2-2 or 2-3, but instead he’s 0-4 over his last 10 starts. Baseball!

★ ★ ★

Colorado Rockies: Injury updates on Raimel Tapia, Jordan Sheffield, and Yonathan Daza | Rox Pile

Sheffield looks like he’ll be back soon. Tapia will need a rehab stint in the Minors, which looks like will happen soon. Daza, however, could be out for a while.

Moving The Atlantic League Mound Back Has Had Mixed Effects | Baseball Prospectus

In short? Moving the mound back has made fastballs worse, breaking balls better, and it’s led to more home runs and more strikeouts. Not the solution MLB hoped for so far. Shrink the size of the pitching staff instead!

On The Farm

Don’t let the four runs fool you, the Isotope bats were quiet for most of the game, managing only five hits and a walk at Las Vegas, albeit one of the hit being a three-run first inning homer from Greg Bird. The Aviators massacred Albuquerque starter Frank Duncan (3.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR), and while the bullpen was solid enough the rest of the way, it was too much for the offense to overcome. The Isotopes drop to 42-53 on the season with the loss.

It was a poor outing for Yard Goats starter Nick Bush (3.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR), and one his offense couldn’t do much to help him overcome. Hartford was held in check by the Senators, going 2-for-10 with RISP and managing only a single run. On the positive side, Nº 4 PuRP Michael Toglia had himself a two-hit game, being the one who drove in Hartford’s lone run. The Yard Goats continue their tough season and are now 31-64 after their latest loss.

The white-hot Spokane Indians keep on rolling, as a tight, well contested game going into the seventh inning turned into a blowout, with Spokane scoring a total of seven runs across their final three innings to put the ballgame away. The offense was led by second baseman Jack Blomgren, who went 3-for-5 with a double and a homer. Nº 11 PuRP Brenton Doyle homered as well, furthering his hit streak to eight games, and all of this backed starter and Nº 8 PuRP Chris McMahon, who pitched a solid game (6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR) and improved to 8-3 on the season. As mentioned before, Spokane is streaking, having won ten games in a row, with the Indians now a season-high eight games above .500 at 52-44.

What a ballgame this was. The Grizzlies, who are now 64-33, won a slugfest on the back of an incredible performance by Nº 1 PuRP Zac Veen, who hit for the cycle, going 4-for-5 and driving in seven runs. Veen hit an RBI single in the first inning, a grand slam in the second, a double in the sixth, and a two-run triple in the eighth inning. The 19-year-old is currently slashing .309/.403/.532 in Low-A, and I cannot understand why he’s still in Fresno at this point. Fresno’s pitchers were mauled pretty badly themselves, with starter Mike Ruff lasting just two innings (2.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HR), but the offense bailed them out big time. Fresno remains entrenched at the top of their division, with the third-best run differential across all of Low-A ball.

★ ★ ★

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