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Colorado Rockies' rotation rocks on with Antonio Senzatela starting vs. Atlanta Braves

By Guy Curtright, The Sports Xchange
Colorado Rockies' rotation rocks on with Antonio Senzatela starting vs. Atlanta Braves
Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

ATLANTA -- Colorado's Antonio Senzatela will come off the disabled list and face the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night at SunTrust Park, taking the place of fellow right-hander Chad Bettis in the Rockies' rotation.

Mike Foltynewicz, coming off an eight-inning victory over Miami, will start for the Braves, who dropped the first two games of the series and have had their lead over Philadelphia in the National League East cut to a half game.

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Foltynewicz, an All-Star for the first time this season, has won his past three starts while improving to 10-7 and lowering his ERA to 2.86. But he has never beaten the Rockies, who were 11-5 winners over the Braves on Friday night.

Senzatela posted a 3.60 ERA in five starts while replacing the sidelined Bettis before going on the disabled list himself because of shoulder inflammation after a one-run, six-inning outing on Aug. 2 at St. Louis.

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Bettis, who missed a month with a blister on his right middle finger, came off the DL when Senzatela went on, but he allowed nine runs in 4 2/3 innings against Pittsburgh in his first start back.

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Bettis gave up just one run in 6 1/3 innings last Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he has a 5.42 ERA to go with his 5-2 record.

"We just felt, at this time, Antonio is throwing the ball a little better than Chad," Rockies manager Bud Black said of Senzatela's work before going on the DL.

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Bettis has not made a relief appearance since 2014 and has a 9.09 ERA in 29 career appearances out of the bullpen.

"This was a tough decision for us as a coaching staff to go this direction," Black said. "I told Chad, for us to get to where we want to be, it's going to take all of us, regardless of the role or the situation that might currently present itself. Chad was fine. He understood that there was a decision to be made."

Senzatela, who pitched a simulated game on Tuesday in Houston, is 4-3 with a 4.56 ERA in 15 overall appearances this year after going 10-5 with a 4.68 ERA in 20 starts and 16 relief appearances a season ago as a rookie.

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This will be the 23-year-old Venezuela native's second career appearance against the Braves (68-53). He pitched two innings of perfect relief against them last season, striking out two.

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Foltynewicz, who didn't face the Rockies (66-56) in Denver during an April series, is 0-4 lifetime with a 5.14 ERA against Colorado in five starts and two relief appearances. He went 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA against Colorado last season.

The 26-year-old right-hander is coming off his second-best start of the season. His best was a two-hit shutout of Washington on June 1.

Foltynewicz, who held the Marlins to five hits and one run and struck out seven over eight innings on Monday, hadn't completed as many as seven innings since blanking the Nationals.

"I was a five-and-dive type of pitcher, and it was embarrassing on my part because I'm a starter and I'm supposed to go six, seven or eight innings," Foltynewicz said. "I'm getting a little better. I'm more mentally focused on the game."

Foltynewicz allowed two earned runs or fewer in 15 of his first 16 starts, then surrendered at least four earned runs in four straight starts before allowing two earned runs or fewer in each of his past three outings.

DJ LeMahieu is 11-for-15 lifetime against Foltynewicz, but Nolan Arenado is 1-for-12 and Charlie Blackmon is 2-for-13.

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