David Zalubowski AP Photo
While it wasn’t a debut that many would call great, Jeff Hoffman did show some reason to believe that he will be a top of the rotation starter. Going against the second best offense and the team with the NL’s best record is certainly no easy task for a Major League debut, but Hoffman went out and kept his cool initially. The Cubs ultimately pulled away for an easy 9-2 win to snap the Rockies short three game win streak.
Hoffman did have an easy time through the first nine batters, however he ran into trouble the second time through. Allowing one hit and facing the minimum is certainly a good thing for a young starter and especially against the lineup of the Cubs. The second time through the Cubs figured Hoffman out and broke the scoreless tie in the fourth. Four straight hits, three singles and a double, scored the first two runs of the inning before Hoffman got an out. He was then able to record two straight outs before allowing two more runs to score on a Miguel Montero single.
The Cubs scored three more runs in the fifth on a huge home run from Kris Bryant. An error and a walk put two men on before Bryant hit his league leading 31st home run, breaking a tie with Nolan Arenado. That would be the last batter Hoffman would face and while the seven runs is certainly a lot to give up for a debut, he can’t be entirely blamed and this start will not dictate the rest of his season and career.
It took until the fifth inning for the Rockies to even record a hit against starter Mike Montgomery. Nick Hundley launched a home run to left to end the no hit bid and shutout, but the Rockies would only get one more run over the course of the game despite threatening a few more times over the final four innings. In two innings the Rockies had two men on but were only able to score a run on a ground out.
Overall, this was a forgettable game for both the Rockies and Jeff Hoffman. The Rockies can still win the series on Sunday with Jorge De La Rosa on the mound, if he can out-pitch Jason Hammel. Hammel has been great this year, but the Rockies have had success against good pitchers this year and day games at Coors often turn into slugfests.