PHOENIX — The Rockies planned on one bullpen game this weekend. Instead, they got two.
Antonio Senzatela, who has been so consistent over the second half of the season, exited before even getting through a full inning. The Diamondbacks nicked him for six runs, as they routed the Rockies 11-2 in the penultimate game of the season.
"We didn’t pitch well," manager Bud Black, who is especially hard on his pitchers, said.
But as the never-ending evaluation of this club continues, the newly-promoted front office got a good look at what kind of bullpen arms it needs this offseason. Bill Schmidt had his interim title stripped four hours before the game, and added vice president to Danny Montgomery and Zach Rosenthal’s business cards.
Schmidt, Rosenthal and Greg Feasel, who assumed his position as president and chief operating officer earlier this season, sat together in a suite above home plate. They got a front row seat to Senzatela’s meltdown, as the Diamondbacks attacked him for hit after hit after hit in the first.
Senzatela’s final outing of the season lasted just 2/3 of an inning. He’ll finish with a 4.42 ERA. Mixed locations was his main problem on Saturday, as he couldn't get the ball consistently down.
"I don’t think the win-loss record dictates how he threw the ball, especially lately," Black said. "We saw some improvement, we saw some growth. But overall, Senza is becoming a quality major leagues tarter. I think that showed for a majority of the season."
But starting pitching, despite the mixed results as of late, is not an area they need to add on to this offseason, if they re-sign Jon Gray. All of their hiccups lately are from clear, fixable issues, like Germán Márquez’s exhaustion after pitching 180 innings to Gray’s mixed locations.
The bullpen, however, has been a different story. Schmidt admitted prior to the game that that’s an area they need to address. Prior to Saturday’s game, they had a collective 4.86 ERA, the fifth-highest in major league baseball, behind only the Orioles, Diamondbacks, Nationals, and Reds, none of which will be playing beyond Sunday.
Yency Almonte, who is hanging on by thin thread, was the first up. He had one of the easiest nights, pitching 1.1 scorless innings, but his 7.55 ERA this season after a stellar 2020 is nothing to celebrate. The Rockies will have to take a hard look at Almonte this offseason, and decide if he’s worth the gamble of another year on their major league roster.
Then came Jhoulys Chacín, who returned to the Rockies this year after a five-year trip around the league. They brought him in as a long reliever, but converted him to a late-inning guy midway through the season. He is on a one-year contract, but has said that he would like to return if the Rockies offered.
Chi Chi González, fresh off the injured list, got two innings as he also tries to salvage his spot. The Rockies will need a long-reliever next year, a spot González held when he wasn't used as a spot-starter. González could fill that role again, but it be given to their younger starters, Peter Lambert and Ryan Feltner, who would be sixth or seventh in line in the rotation next year.
Julian Fernández showed off his velocity once again, throwing a 102.8 mph fastball, the fastest pitch in Rockies history in the statcast era. He gave up two runs though, as commanding that flame continues to impact his effectiveness. Robert Stephenson made it through unscathed in the ninth.