Reds turn to P Jeff Hoffman to salvage split in Colorado

MLB

Jeff Hoffman arrived in Colorado six seasons ago with plenty of expectations. The right-hander was one of the key parts of the trade that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto, and the hope was he would be a rotation mainstay.

It didn’t work out that way, and the Rockies shipped him to Cincinnati on Nov. 25, 2020.

Hoffman returns to Colorado and will start the final of a four-game series against the Rockies. It’s the first time he will face his former team.

Colorado won the first two games, but the Reds took Saturday’s game, 6-5, in 12 innings.

Hoffman (2-3, 4.70 ERA) got a chance to catch up with his former teammates before the series started and said it was good to reunite with them.

“It feels good to be back,” Hoffman said Thursday. “I’ve got a lot of friends here, a lot of people I spent a lot of time with over the last five years of my life. Nothing’s really changed with those guys, they’re a great group of guys. I had a lot of fun while I was here.”

He didn’t have much fun on the mound. He went 10-16 with a 6.40 in 38 starts and 30 relief appearances for Colorado from 2016-20. He struggled at Coors Field where he went 5-8 with a 7.58 ERA in 40 games, 22 of which were starts.

“The outfield is enormous, singles turn to doubles and doubles turn to triples,” Hoffman said of Coors Field. “If they get the barrel on the ball and they get it in the air the ball’s going to go out. You get penalized for your mistakes here. It’s definitely hard to pitch but at the end of the day you hope your team comes out on top.”

Antonio Senzatela (1-4, 5.97 ERA) will start for the Rockies. He’ll be making his third career start against the Reds and has yet to get a decision. Cincinnati has hit him hard in the two starts, with 12 runs on 12 hits in 10 1/3 innings for a 10.45 ERA.

Sunday will be the eighth start of the season for Senzatela and his fifth at home, where he is 1-3 with a 5.27 ERA.

If his teammates can produce the offense they have in the first three games of this series, Senzatela will have plenty of room to work with Sunday. Colorado has scored 27 runs in the first three games after struggling to score on the road.

One of the players hitting well is Yonathan Daza. He is hitting .341 and has at least one hit in six straight games.

“There’s a little more strength to his swing and I think the approach is a little better too,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I think his mechanics are a little more consistent. The thing that sticks out (the most) for me is there’s more bat speed and strength to his swing and it’s just a touch more compact.”

–Field Level Media

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