After his rise as a touted prospect in the Rockies' system -- one who pitched well enough this spring to make the rotation, despite having just seven Double-A starts last season -- his performance in the Rockies' 2-1 victory over the Brewers offered examples of why the team always thought he would be one.
Senzatela, 22, escaped the bases loaded in the first inning by forcing a Domingo Santana double-play grounder, overcame accidentally hitting the Brewers' Keon Broxton in the face with a 92.6 mph fastball in the second and ultimately struck out six in five scoreless innings.
Not one given to showing emotion, Senzatela understandably fist-pumped after inducing the double play on a 96.8 mph fastball.
"I tell pitchers all the time there are going to be stress points during the game, even in good games … a point in that game where there are runners on, less than a couple outs, and you've got to work out of it," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Today, for him, it was in the first inning -- which is not ideal, in your Major League debut.
"But he made a pitch to Santana to get the double play, which is great. DJ LeMahieu and Trevor Story turned it magnificently. I think that let him exhale."
After the one-out hits in the first -- an Eric Thames single and Jesus Aguilar double that found grass -- Senzatela dealt with just three baserunners. One was Travis Shaw on a walk before the double play. He mixed fastballs of varying speeds -- anywhere from the 91-92 range to near 97 -- with sliders and changeups that produced fly balls and otherwise weak contact.
"He's super-calm," said third baseman Nolan Arenado, whose ninth-inning home run won the game. "It looked like he's been out there a couple times already. He laid a couple great bunts, he competed."