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Ryan Feltner and Colorado’s pitching depth will be tested in the final weeks

Colorado Rockies news and links for Saturday, August 20, 2022

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After Antonio Senzatela went down on Thursday in St. Louis, there was a sinking feeling that his injury would be serious. The diagnosis met the eye test as it was confirmed on Friday that he has a torn ACL and is set for surgical repair in his left knee.

It’s a devastating blow for Senzatela and the Colorado Rockies, who are already struggling with injuries and finding ways to string wins together.

“It’s a tough one for Antonio. I feel bad for any player that season comes to an end due to injury, and a lengthy one too.” manager Bud Black said before Friday’s ballgame. “But he’ll get the repair. He’ll be back hopefully in six-to-eight months.”

This is a tough break for both the player and the team as the Rockies have already needed to lean on free agents José Ureña and Dinelson Lamet to fill innings up to this point. Now there are even more vacant innings with Senzatela’s season-ending injury, and Colorado is thin in reinforcements for the rotation.

To start the season, the Rockies’ pitching depth appeared better than in previous seasons, but still in question. Peter Lambert and Ryan Rolison were expected to be the key names in the conversation, along with Ryan Feltner who made his big-league debut in 2021. Those plans quickly went awry when Lambert was handled with extreme care in Spring Training before being shut down in June after just four minor league appearances. Ryan Rolison didn’t even last that long, getting shut down during the spring and never appearing in a game this season before undergoing shoulder surgery in June.

So that leaves just Feltner, who has filled the “depth” shoes all season with mixed results. In his first three starts, Feltner tossed 17 innings with a 3.71 ERA. Over his next four outings, that ballooned to 8.64. He didn’t make it out of the fourth in his next two outings, but did have a respectable 3.86 mark before relapsing and allowing ten runs over ten innings in his last two appearances.

After streaking through four different levels in 2021, Feltner has endured the ups-and-downs in his first full big league season while jumping between Colorado and Albuquerque. But now, with Senzatela on the shelf, the Rockies will presumably need to throw him into the fire every fifth day, no matter the results.

“Initially, I felt like hitters had a really good game plan against me and they knew what areas of the zone I was going to attack and what pitches I was gonna throw.” said Feltner when asked about his adjustments to the big leagues this season. “So I kind of have my game-plan a little bit more nailed down. Now it’s just about making sure I’m making those pitches when I need to, because you do get away with more (mistakes) in the minor leagues.”

Part of Feltner’s game plan has been adjusting his pitch mix, specifically on increasing the frequency of his secondary offerings in hopes of improving the effectiveness of his fastball.

“I’m trying to throw the curve ball and change-up more to even everything out,” said Feltner. “In turn, I’ll be throwing less fastballs. I kind of came up through the minor leagues being mostly fastball-slider and I had a good change-up the first couple years. So I’m trying to get that back to where it was. It’s another work in progress.”

Whether or not the adjustments to Feltner’s repertoire are fruitful will ultimately come down to execution. But he now seems to be in a position to continue to work on perfecting his craft over the rest of the season, as the Rockies lien pitching depth leaves little competition for his spot in the foreseeable future.

Chad Kuhl is set to make a rehab appearance in Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday night, so throwing him back into the fold will help the ailing staff. When he returns, Colorado will be looking at Germán Márquez, Kyle Freeland, José Ureña, Feltner and Kuhl for the rotation.

Behind them is Austin Gomber, who has been in the bullpen for the past month and could make his way back into the rotation if Feltner struggles or Kuhl suffers a setback. The same could be said of Dinelson Lamet, but he hasn’t made a start in over a calendar year. Beyond that…there’s not much left to choose from.

So the Rockies will have to play what few cards they have over the season’s final six weeks. For pitchers like Ureña and Lamet, it will be an audition to stick around another year or potentially land a job elsewhere next season. For Feltner, it will be a chance to figure out how to achieve sustained success in the majors. Either way, the Rockies will be leaning on Feltner and the rest of their skeleton crew to step-up in the rotation for the rest of the season.

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Colorado Rockies injury update: Charlie Blackmon day-to-day | Rox Pile

Antonio Senzatela’s season-ending injury wasn’t the health problem the Rockies experienced on Friday. Charlie Blackmon also had to leave the game with hamstring issues, but luckily the news on that front isn’t too concerning, reports Kevin Henry.

“I took him out because I thought he wasn’t moving great,” Black said. “It cost him time yesterday, and we’re going to give him a day today, but I don’t think, as of now, that this is a long-term situation.”

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On The Farm

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 6, Tacoma Rainiers 4

The Isotopes never trailed in this one, and Sean Bouchard got that streak started with a two-run home run in the top of the first inning. Alan Trejo added another tally to that lead with a solo home run in the third, but Tacoma got them all back when the plated three runs off starter Karl Kauffmann in the bottom of the same inning.

The score would remain tied until D.J. Peterson’s two-run dinger put Albuquerque back on top in the fifth. Kauffmann ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning, but worked around two walks to finish his evening with three runs allowed in five innings with three walks and six strikeouts. Tacoma got one run closer in the seventh, but Trejo’s second home run of the game walked that progress back, bringing the game to its eventual 6-4 final.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats 2, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 1

The Yard Goats came out on the right-end of a pitcher’s duel in Hartford. Mitchell Kilkenny got the ball for the ‘Goats and cruised through the first four innings. He entered the fifth with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a Kyle Datres homer in the bottom of the fourth, but started running into trouble.

With two outs and a runner on, Kilkenny issued a walk before allowing a run-scoring single, ending his evening with the game tied and two runners still on base. But reliever Jared Biddy came in and prevented further damage, keeping the game tied at one. It would stay that way until the sixth, when Hunter Stovall put Hartford ahead for good with his ninth home run of the season. Blair Calvo and Gavin Hollowell would put the finishing touches on the victory with an inning each, Hollowell earning his 15th save of the season.

High-A: Spokane Indians 7, Tri-City Dust Devils 0

Andrew Quezada delivered a magnificent start for the Indians, tossing six shutout innings with five strikeouts and just four hits allowed. Run-scoring doubles from Mateo Gil and Drew Romo in the second inning supported Quezada early, putting Spokane up by three before the mid-point of the ballgame. A solo homer by Hunter Goodman in the fifth extended the lead before RBI doubles by Bladimir Restituyo, Romo and Julio Carreras ballooned the lead to seven in the eighth. Boby Johnson and Blake Goldsberry combined for three scoreless innings to wrap-up the victory.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 15, Visalia Rawhide 5

It was an offensive onslaught for the Fresno Grizzlies, but it didn’t start out that way. The Rawhide got to stater Victor Juarez early, plating two runs in both the third and fourth innings. Trailing 4-2 in the fifth, the Grizzlies exploded for five runs with the biggest blow coming from a Juan Guerrero three-run homer. The offensive wouldn’t slow down, plating at least one run in each of the next four innings, including a four-run spree in the eighth that all came in one swing with Juan Brito’s grand slam. In all, every Fresno hitter recorded a hit and Brito finished with six RBI while Guerrero drove in five of his own.

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