Milwaukee Brewers: Facing Antonio Senzatela in Game 1
By Paul Bretl
As the Milwaukee Brewers highly anticipated 2018 playoff debut approaches, the Colorado Rockies announced that Antonio Senzatela would be making the game one start.
Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela, made his Major League debut on April 6, 2017 against none other than the Milwaukee Brewers. He appeared in 36 games that season, including 20 as a starter. He was able to impress the Rockies staff as he posted a record of 10-5 during the season.
Entering 2018, Senzatela began the season pitching out of the Colorado bullpen before being moved up into the starting rotation back in early July. Since the move to the starter role, Senzatela has been a much more consistent pitcher for the Rockies.
2018 stats for Senzatela
In 2018, Senzatela has appeared in 23 games and 13 of those have been as a starter. Over his 73.1 innings pitched as a starter, Senzatela has an ERA of 3.95, his opponents are batting .254 against him and he has a WHIP of 1.301.
Senzatela’s biggest strength as a pitcher is his ability to limit the home runs allowed. On the season he has given up just eight long balls as a starter and just 10 over all. Adding in the fact that the Rockies home stadium is Coors Field, makes this even more impressive.
Earlier in the season, the Milwaukee Brewers relied heavily on the home run ball to produce many of their runs. But since the second half of the season and especially as of late, Milwaukee has been phenomenal at manufacturing runs. This type of run scoring ability will be beneficial against Senzatela.
A key for this Brewers offense will be jumping on Senzatela in the first inning of the game. In the first inning of games in 2018, Senzatela has an ERA of 5.54 and his opponents are batting a whopping .340 against him with and OBP of .393. The Brewers top of the order will look to be swinging early and often to take advantage of Senzatela’s first inning struggles.
After Senzatela makes it through the first inning, he will usually settle down. But most likely we won’t see him pitching past the fifth inning. When Senzatela pitches in the sixth inning this season, he has an ERA of 8.68. This means the Brewers could see the Rockies bullpen in the fourth or fifth inning, which bodes well for Milwaukee. The Rockies bullpen has blown 27 saves this season, third most overall in the Majors.
Senzatela’s recent success
Over the final month of September, Senzatela has been pitching much better than his season averages.
In five September starts, he has a 2-1 record with an ERA of 3.25 and the Rockies have won four out of those five Senzatela starts. During those starts, he has given up just 10 earned runs, inlcuding only one earned run in each of his previous three starts.
Senzatela will come into Miller Park with confidence, but the Brewers have to wonder if he can keep this pace up and if he will regress back to the mean.
Senzatela has a four pitch arsenal to choose from that include a fastball, slider, change-up and a curve ball. However he relies mostly on the fastball and slider as they make up 89% of the pitches he throws.
The fastball is Senzatela’s go-to pitch as he throws that pitch 69% of the time. He has the ability to reach the mid 90s in terms of velocity but will consistently be around 92-94 mph. He relies on his location low in the strike zone that results in a lot of ground ball outs and is a big reason for his low home run total.
Senzatela’s other pitch is his slider, which hangs around 83 mph. As far as sliders go, his has minimal cut action. This is the pitch that Senzatela gives up the highest percentage of his home runs on. With a slower speed and a lack of movement, if he leaves his slider up in the zone, batters are able to capitalize. This will be a pitch that Brewer hitters will be looking to take advantage of if Senzatela misses his spot.
Brewers lineup against Senzatela
With Senzatela being a right-handed pitcher, we can anticipate that Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell will have a number of left-handed batters in his lineup.
On the season, left-handed opponents have had their share of success when facing Senzatela. Collectively, they are batting .265 against him with and OBP of .325, a slugging percentage of .371 and an OBS of .696.
How could the Brewers attack Senzatela?
- Curtis Granderson (L)
- Lorenzo Cain (R)
- Christian Yelich (L)
- Jesus Aguilar (R)
- Travis Shaw (L)
- Mike Moustakas (L)
- Erik Kratz (R)
- Orlando Arcia (R)
Senzatela is a young pitcher making his post season debut. It will be interesting to see how he handles the moment. But the Milwaukee Brewers will have to bring their best to pull out a game one victory. It’s October and anything can happen.