CINCINNATI — Three-and-a-half hours before Friday night’s game, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado were planted in front of their laptops, studying Reds starting pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla.
Nothing unusual there, except that the Rockies were putting in extra time, pouring over video and dissecting scouting reports on Bonilla, a pitcher they had never faced before. In fact, the Rockies are in the midst of a three-game swing against pitchers they are battling for the first time.
Thursday night, Jose Berrios, Minnesota’s talented 22-year-old right-hander, dominated Colorado hitters in a 2-0 Twins victory. He pitched 7⅔ innings, allowing only two singles and striking out a career-high 11. Saturday night, Colorado is scheduled go up against another new face in right-hander Tim Adleman.
“The advantage always goes to the pitcher, that’s my viewpoint on this,” manager Bud Black said. “We are going to have to be quick studies.”
LeMahieu, the defending National League batting champion, said the Rockies do a number of things to prepare for an unknown pitching quantity.
“You have to get as much info as you can,” LeMahieu said. “You watch his past starts, look at his charts, try to spot tendencies. I know for me, I will try to be aggressive and try to find pitches to spot. It takes some work.
“But I would have a hard time believing these guys coming up for the Reds are going to be as good as Berrios was (Thursday) night.”
Added Blackmon: “What you really look for is tendencies, especially when the pitcher has men on base. Does he pitch soft and throw a lot of off-speed stuff? Or is he a fastball guy?”
There was a lot of talking in the dugout and near the on-deck circle Friday night as the Rockies discussed Bonilla’s stuff.
“When you face a guy for the first time, it can look a lot different than it does on video,” LeMahieu said. “So guys will talk after facing him, kind of like an instant scouting report. How does his fastball move? What’s the slider like out of his hand? We talk about all of that.”
Added Black: “You really don’t know until you get into the box and face a guy. What’s his release point? So Charlie comes back and tells DJ and then DJ tells Nolan. That’s when you start building a little bit of a catalog.”
Cardullo released. Outfielder/first baseman Stephen Cardullo, who had two stints with the Rockies, has been released by the organization after suffering a broken wrist. Cardullo, 29, was hitting .308 in eight games at Triple-A Albuquerque before the injury.
“We thought we may need a spot on the 40-man roster,” Black said, explaining that Cardullo will be out a significant length of time. “So we released him. I think after the release, we’re hopefully in negotiations to re-sign him. I think that is the best I can put it. We would like to continue the relationship. We’re working on that. Both sides.”
Cardullo appeared in 15 games and hit .143 for the Rockies this season before being optioned on April 25.
Murphy update. Catcher Tom Murphy, on the disabled list since spring training with a hairline fracture to his right forearm and wrist, is moving closer to baseball activities.
“Murph’s getting closer,” Black said. “He did some catching drills today with (catching coach) Mike Redmond. He hit off the tee. The thing that’s happening with Murph is progression in the cage. Building up the hand strength, the forearm strength, making sure that fracture doesn’t cause any discomfort.
“He feels good. But the doctors want to see the natural progression — tee, soft toss, then a rehab assignment. But we’re getting close. We’re getting close to BP on the field. It’s happening in the next week.”
Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (6-1, 3.31 ERA) at Reds RHP Tim Adelman (2-2. 5.27), 2:10 p.m. Saturday, ROOT; 850 AM
The Rockies knew Senzatela was going to be special, but did they know he would be so special, so early? His six victories ranked second in the National League and his 3.31 ERA ranked 10th, entering the weekend. He hasn’t been perfect, as witnessed by the two homers he allowed against the Dodgers in his last start. He’s been excellent away from Coors Field, going 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three road starts. Adleman (rhymes with saddle-man) is making his seventh appearance of the season and his sixth consecutive start. He has never faced the Rockies, though he has pitched against Ian Desmond, who’s 1-for-3 with one home run against the right-hander. Adleman left his last start at San Francisco because of tightness in his neck. He’s is 2-0 with a 3.43 ERA at Great American Ball Park vs. 0-2 with a 11.37 ERA on the road.
Sunday: Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (4-2, 3.13 ERA) at Reds RHP Bronson Arroyo (3-3, 6.31), 11:10 a.m., ROOT
Monday: Rockies TBA at Phillies RHP Jerad Eickhoff (0-4, 4.53), 5:05 p.m., ROOT
Tuesday: Rockies RHP German Marquez (2-2, 4.34) at Phillies RHP Zach Eflin (0-1, 4.25), 5:05 p.m., ROOT