Dodgers @ Rockies May 14, 2017: Urias for First Place

Photo: Daniel Brim

Suddenly, the Dodgers enter their final game in Colorado playing for first place. After winning two of the first three games in Coors, the Dodgers start just 1/2 game back of the Rockies. A split and no major injuries would be a satisfactory outcome to this series in Denver, but coming out with the division lead would be that much sweeter.

Dodgers
Rockies
12:10 p.m.
Colorado
CF
 Pederson
CF
Blackmon
SS
Seager
2B
LeMahieu
3B
Turner
3B
Arenado
LF
Bellinger
1B
Reynolds
C
Grandal
LF
Desmond
2B
Taylor
RF
González
1B
Utley SS Valaika
RF
Puig
C
Garneau
P
Urias (L)
P
Senzatela (R)

Starting against the Dodgers is rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela, subject of a very unfortunate tweet earlier this week. Senzatela skipped right from AA, where he only had 34-2/3 innings, to the Rockies’ rotation this year and so far he has been taking advantage of that opportunity. After seven starts, Senzatela has a 2.86 ERA, well above average considering his home park. Even his 4.04 FIP is above-average, considering that he hasn’t been allowing many homers given how many balls he allows in play.

Overall, Senzatela has been doing very well, but there are some causes for pessimism, mainly in that he doesn’t miss bats at all. Senzatela has struck out 24 batters in 44 innings. His 13.6% strikeout rate is fourth-lowest among qualified starters right now. His good control has kept that from being a complete disaster, but that, combined with an average ground ball rate, is why he currently has a DRA over 7. That type of pitch-to-contact approach may not be great for his home park. Senzatela throws hard, featuring a 95 mph fastball more than 75% of the time. He also mixes in a slider and very occasionally a change, but he’s mostly a two-pitch starting pitcher, which is rare.

Julio Urias will take the ball for the Dodgers, and he’s coming off one of the best starts of his major-league career. After flirting with a no-hitter, he did eventually give up a run to the Pirates. Urias also pitched into the seventh inning and limited walks, two things which are still an issue. Urias has allowed 10 walks and struck out 10 in his three starts, which could be an issue going forward, but his stats are still excellent due to contact limitation and a bit of luck. It’s still something that should be fixed going forward, particularly given his numbers last year. One area to focus on early: Urias’ first-pitch strike rate, which is down from 63% to 50% on the young season. Urias has one career start and Denver, and as with many other good pitchers before him, he did not do well, lasting just three innings while allowing three runs.

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.