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Rockies face D-backs with taxed bullpen

MLB.com

DENVER -- With first place in the National League West at stake this weekend in Arizona, the Rockies are trying to move forward from a 16-5 loss to the Nationals on Thursday that pushed them to their first three-game losing streak of 2017.

After an 8-4 comeback win Monday, the Rockies surrendered 11 or more runs in each of the final three games against Washington; just the fourth time in franchise history they've done so in any three-game stretch. They ran into a Nationals club that wrapped up a 10-game road trip Thursday with nine wins, a historical win percentage for a trip of such length, during which Washington averaged 7.9 runs per game.

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DENVER -- With first place in the National League West at stake this weekend in Arizona, the Rockies are trying to move forward from a 16-5 loss to the Nationals on Thursday that pushed them to their first three-game losing streak of 2017.

After an 8-4 comeback win Monday, the Rockies surrendered 11 or more runs in each of the final three games against Washington; just the fourth time in franchise history they've done so in any three-game stretch. They ran into a Nationals club that wrapped up a 10-game road trip Thursday with nine wins, a historical win percentage for a trip of such length, during which Washington averaged 7.9 runs per game.

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"I think our guys from knowing them just in a short period of time, we do a pretty good job of turning the page, good or bad," manager Bud Black said. "I think that's something characteristic of these players and our team. That's a good thing because we definitely need to wash this one off."

Right-hander Antonio Senzatela turned in six strong innings, but admittedly lacked the fastball command that led him to a 3-0 start with a 2.08 ERA. Senzatela brushed the corners for most of the afternoon on what Statcast™ showed was a rigid strike zone.

"From my vantage point, I haven't replayed the game on video, but it looked as if the home-plate umpire was really consistent," Black said. "He stayed with it. You had to throw a strike. You had to hit the corner or be on the plate. And Antonio hung in there. I just saw one bit of frustration, maybe two, on a couple borderline pitches, but he hung in there."

Senzatela said: "I just tried to be more aggressive with that team, but I didn't have my fastball command and breaking pitches. But I just kept battling."

The Rockies will head to Arizona with a taxed bullpen, though Black did not use primary back-end relievers Adam Ottavino, Greg Holland and Mike Dunn, who will be on the disabled list until at least next week with back spasms. In four games against Washington, Rockies relievers threw 303 pitches to the starters' 360. On Thursday, Jordan Lyles, Carlos Estevez and Scott Oberg combined to throw 97 pitches.

"There were high pitch counts, and that's a little bit of a concern," Black said. "We'll keep an eye on these guys' arms, but it's not so much the innings that they log. It's the amount of pitches that were thrown in each inning by a couple different pitchers that will cause us to pause, and see where we are in our bullpen. But again, I think we'll be all right. We keep eight guys for a couple different reasons."

An offense nearly as potent as Washington's awaits in Arizona. Entering Thursday, the D-backs ranked among the MLB leaders in runs scored (first, 126), batting average (tied-first, .276), extra-base hits (fourth, 77) and OPS (seventh, .783).

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Colorado Rockies, Antonio Senzatela