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Senzatela's cool, fastball help him stay afloat

March 28, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela didn't have everything Tuesday, but he had his fastball. That was enough for him to stay competitive.Relying mostly on his main pitch -- he threw some nice sliders, but didn't have much of a changeup -- Senzatela navigated five innings, and gave up

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela didn't have everything Tuesday, but he had his fastball. That was enough for him to stay competitive.
Relying mostly on his main pitch -- he threw some nice sliders, but didn't have much of a changeup -- Senzatela navigated five innings, and gave up three runs on nine scattered hits in a 4-3 loss to the Rangers at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
If the Rockies wanted to look at Senzatela's composure when all his pitches weren't at peak effectiveness, he earned passing marks. Facing a solid Rangers lineup, Senzatela faced baserunners in every inning and saw the leadoff man reach three times. The runs came during the final frame of his 85-pitch outing.
Senzatela's schedule lines him up to pitch the regular season's fifth game, the April 7 home opener against the Dodgers. For a 22-year-old to handle that assignment -- after making just seven starts at Double-A Hartford last year while dealing with two disabled list trips with shoulder inflammation, and the illness and death of his mother in Venezuela -- he has to possess confidence.

"I feel like if I don't have the secondary pitches, I can attack with my fastball by putting it in different spots," Senzatela said.
He used a fastball to catch Preston Beck looking to end the second with runners at second and third. After giving up Delino DeShields and Drew Robinson singles to open the second, he fanned Joey Gallo and forced a Nomar Mazara fly ball by using five consecutive fastballs. Three more set up the slider that Jose Trevino popped to second.
Jurickson Profar doubled to open the third, but didn't score as Senzatela didn't let the ball out of the infield. In the fifth, DeShields doubled, Robinson singled and Gallo doubled to begin the three-run frame.
"He's got a nice self-assuredness to him that I think will play as he moves forward," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He's very confident in his pitching. He pitches aggressively with his fastball. He doesn't back down."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.