The Rockies are facing a predicament. Which pitcher should they start in Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh?
Both left-hander Austin Gomber and righty Antonio Senzatela line up to make the start in the final game before the all-star break. From manager Bud Black’s perspective, it’s a good problem because it means that the Rockies finally have some depth back in the starting rotation.
It’s not necessarily quality depth, but at least the Rockies have arms available.
“We are discussing how to line up for the last weekend,” Black said prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Padres at Coors Field. “The most important thing is that ‘Senza’ is healthy.
“And that’s the good thing. (It’s) the middle of July and the guys have made their starts. Senza is the one guy who’s missed time with injury, so it’s good to have the depth, moving into July and August and even into September.”
Senzatela tested his sore right shoulder Tuesday night in a rehab game for Triple-A Albuquerque, allowing one run on four hits across five innings while walking one. He threw 63 pitches.
“I felt really good,” Senzatela said Wednesday. “There was no soreness or anything. I’m ready to go.”
Gomber, who was relegated to the bullpen for two weeks, made a solid six-inning start against the Padres Tuesday night, picking up the win after allowing one run on six hits, a walk, and a hit batter. He struck out three and displayed a sharp curveball.
Colorado recently called up journeyman right-hander Jose Urena from Triple-A and the 30-year-old former Marlin has made two strong starts, posting a 2.13 ERA over 12 2/3 innings. Plus, the right-hander Ryan Feltner, now pitching at Triple-A, is available, if needed.
“The starting pitching rotation is such that now we feel a little bit more comfortable,” Black said.
However, if the Rockies want to make any sort of run in the second half of the season, Senzatela and Gomber have to pitch much better and with more consistency. Senzatela is 3-5 with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP. His .365 batting average against is by far the highest among big-league starters.
Gomber’s .292 average against is the fifth highest in the majors and his 6.11 ERA is much higher than the Rockies expected.
Colome update. Right-handed set-up man Alex Colome, who departed Tuesday’s game in the eighth inning when his right hamstring tightened up, was unavailable for Wednesday’s game. The Rockies aren’t sure when he’ll be ready to pitch again.
“He’s a little sore at the very top of the hamstring,” Black said. “He’s truly day to day. It’s not a significant strain, but sometimes at 48 hours, it shows up a little bit different than after 24. So we are just going to monitor it.”
Colome has a 2.94 ERA over 33 2/3 innings and has converted four saves in five chances.
Bryant’s return. Left fielder Kris Bryant is expected to return to the team on Thursday when the Rockies host the Padres in an afternoon game. Bryan has been on the paternity list. His wife, Jessica, is expecting twins.
Bryant is batting .340 with four homers and six RBIs in 12 games since being reinstated from the injured list on June 27.
Padres LHP Blake Snell (1-5, 4.66 ERA) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (4-7, 4.70)
1:40 p.m., Thursday, Coors Field
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM
Freeland, like all of his rotation mates, is searching for consistency. The lefty was knocked around in his last start at Arizona, allowing six runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 inning in Colorado’s 9-2 loss to the Diamondbacks. Freeland is 5-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 15 career starts vs. San Diego. At Coors Field this season, Freeland is 5-3 with a 5.23 ERA in nine starts.
In his last start, Snell looked like the pitcher the Padres were hoping for when they acquired him in a trade with Tampa Bay in December 2020. He pitched six innings of one-run ball in San Diego’s 6-3 victory over the Giants last Friday at Petco Park. Snell struck out 11, one shy of his season-high, and notched his first win of the season. It was the Padres’ first victory in the nine games Snell started. The lefty has made seven starts against Colorado, going 2-1 with a 3.89 ERA. In four starts at Coors Field, he’s 1-1 with a 6.50 ERA.
Trending: Charlie Blackmon entered Wednesday’s game with a hit in 14 consecutive home games since June 5, slashing .426/.453/.820 with 15 RBIs through that stretch.
At issue: Outfielder Yonathan Daza has cooled off considerably. He entered Wednesday’s game in an 0-for-8 stretch after hitting .136 (3-for-22) on Colorado’s last road trip.
Friday: Pirates LHP Jose Quintana (2-4, 3.59) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (5-7, 5.66), 6:40 p.m., Apple TV
Saturday: Pirates RHP Mitch Keller (3-6) at Rockies RHP Jose Urena (0-1, 2.66), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM
Sunday: Pirates TBA at Rockies TBA, 1:10 p.m., ATTRM
Monday: All-star break begins