The Colorado Rockies are 7-4 in 2017 because of a new focus on run prevention over run creation. Though, the fans wouldn't mind seeing a little run creation here and there, too.
It's not often we find ourselves saying this, bu the Rockies are winning on the strength of their pitching and defense. Though it would be more accurate to say, they've been winning because of their bullpen and defense.
The starting rotation has been underwhelming but not a disaster by any means, especially considering their collective lack of experience. But therein lies the irony; the pitcher with the two best starts of the year so far is 22-year-old Antonio Senzatela. And his teammates were still buzzing about his the first win in the career of the young man they call "Senza" before catching the flight to San Francisco.
"I really like Senzatela's aggressiveness," Charlie Blackmon told BSN Denver. "He's got good tempo. He's charging it in there and you're either gonna get a hit or make an out, it's one or the other. And that's great for defenses. That fast action, you're in and out. He's just been very good so far."
"Senzatela was pitching a great game and it felt good to get him the win, that's the goal," said Carlos Gonzalez after the ceremonious occasion. "We kept telling ourselves, 'let's get him the win right here.'"
They backed up their young pitcher just enough, and Senzatela tells us the game ball will be going into his mother's tomb. It's a tear-jerking story, but there appears to be quite the future ahead of this young man.
"He did a great job," Nolan Arenado told the press. "He pounds the zone, man. He competes. He's not afraid to throw his fastball, he keeps it down, he acts like he's been out there more than just a couple of times. Very composed and I'm very happy for him."
His composure even got the attention of a veteran with 151 career saves.
"Senza did a heck of a job today," Greg Holland said after the win. "Very impressive. He seems like he is a lot older than he actually is when it comes to maturity level. I'm glad we held that down for him. We've kinda been stretched out the last couple games, it's good to get a guy get out there and give you seven innings. That gives us a better chance tomorrow."
BSN Denver caught up with catcher Tony Wolters to get his unique insight on how and why Senzatela was able to give the Rockies their best start of the season, seven innings of two-run baseball while throwing his fastball over 80 percent of the time.
"Yeah, he just has life on his ball, he executed," said Wolters. "He knows where to put it. His offspeed is there, too, and looks really good too. But his fastball is lightning. He was putting it in the right spots. And that's the thing, you know? It's not always about pitches, it's about executing your pitches. There are a lot of hard-throwers like Senzatela that when they hit the right spots, they can just keep going with the fastball. It's all about execution. If we execute our pitches, we're going to be good."
There were a lot of questions about the call-up of Senzatela who had thrown fewer than 35 innings at the Double-A level. We were right there with them. That jump calls to mind names like Eddie Butler and Juan Nicasio, neither of whom were able to make it happen with the Rockies. It's obviously way too early to declare "Senza" a legitimate Senzation, but as long a his "fastball is lightening" he's got a real nice head start.