Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate Colorado Rockies Community!

Hoffman's serene stuff stymies Cubs, sparks Rockies to seventh straight

Drew Creasman Avatar
June 10, 2017


Jeff Hoffman may be the best pitcher the Colorado Rockies have. And that, my friends, is saying something.

He displayed the kind of stuff that made scouts think of him as a first overall talent once upon a time and the offense came through early and late to power the Rockies past the Cubs, winning yet another road series, and pushing their win streak to seven games.

The Rockies got to their old friend Eddie Butler early. Charlie Blackmon, as is his custom, got things started right away with an opposite-field, contact single and came around to score immediately on a DJ LeMahieu double off the right-field wall. The Rockies had a 1-0 lead before they had recorded an out.

LeMahieu came in on a Mark Reynolds double into the left-center field gap but Butler quickly settled down after that, limiting the damage to just the two runs.

Hoffman similarly experienced some early trouble, allowing two of the first three Cubs he faced to reach base. He walked Kris Bryant and surrendered a bloop single to Anthony Rizzo who was able to move up on a bad throw from left fielder Ian Desmond. With runners at second and third with just one out, Hoffman began his reign of terror on the afternoon by striking out Ben Zobrist on a silly curveball and then getting a weak groundout from Jason Heyward to keep a zero in the home team’s scoring column.

Butler cruised through the second and third but hung a curveball to Reynolds in the fourth that was hit so hard that other baseball wannabes could feel it. With that, Reynolds moved into a tie with a pair of Cincinnati Reds for the most home runs in the National League at 17. He also leapfrogged Blackmon in the RBI race, moving into second place behind Jake Lamb of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Reynolds has driven in 54 runs this season, Lamb is at 56.

Of course, a few innings later in the seventh, Blackmon smashed a home run of his own almost as far but out to right field this time, putting himself two behind Reynolds in the home run race at 15 and tying him in RBI at 54. He also moved back into second place in MLB in runs scored and remains the leader in hits with 88 now.

Hoffman did not give up a hit after that Rizzo bloop single in the first until the bottom of the seventh when Heyward lined a single to right field on a low fastball.

Before that was pretty much all this:

Albert Almora Jr. followed up Heyward’s base hit with one of his own through the left side of the infield. Wilson Contreras then hit a shot right back up the middle to score the Cubs first run of the game and chase Hoffman from the game.

With the Rockies bullpen having worked such a heavy load yesterday (one last thanks to Dan Bellino) they had to turn to Chad Qualls in the most high-leverage situation the veteran has been put into in a long time. He did his job, inducing a groundball that almost ended the inning in a double play, but Ian Happ just beat the relay throw to keep the inning alive.

Mike Dunn came on to face lefty Jon Jay with runners at first and third and got him to line out to shortstop Alexi Amarista to end the threat.

That officially closed the book on Jeff Hoffman who was magnificent all told, allowing just four hits, three of them in the seventh inning, and one run.

Jake McGee came on to pitch the eighth ad allowed a single to Bryant but otherwise cruised through an easy inning.

The Rockies then burst out in the top of the ninth, plating five insurance runs despite getting a few more strange calls from this umpiring crew. Raimel Tapia lead-off with a slap double the other way, his second hit of the ballgame (first two at the MLB level for him this season) and Tony Wolters worked a walk. Carlos Gonzalez pinch-hit and popped one up on the infield. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but the first base umpire signaled infield fly … after the ball hit the ground. Tapia took off late for third base once he did and was thrown out, turning it into a bizarre double play.

Blackmon was intentionally walked (that’s probably going to start happening more) but LeMahieu (the Cub killer) lined one off of Felix Pena to load the bases. Still, it looked like after all that, Colorado might get nothing with Nolan Arenado in a 3-2 count. The Rockies clutch third baseman hung in and fouled a few off before pulling a double down the line, clearing the bases and giving the Rockies a 7-1 lead. That was the dagger. But that was not the end.

Reynolds hit a single to give himself a four-hit day, moving Arenado to third. He scored on a wild pitch and Reynolds came in behind him on an RBI single from Ian Desmond. That hit meant every member of the Rockies lineup collected at least on knock in the game.

Jordan Lyles finished off a suddenly stress-free ninth inning. The bullpen has allowed just one run in the last eight games.

The Rockies beat the Cubs 9-1 on 14 hits and a phenomenal performance from Hoffman who now leads Rockies pitchers in fWAR despite having the fewest number of starts. He has 34 strikeouts to just three walks this season. He lowered his ERA to 2.33. The Rockies retain the best road ERA in baseball. They are now on a season-high seven-game win streak.

Colorado is now 41-23, 24-10 on the road, and currently, hold a three-game lead in the National League West.



Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

The Comment section is only for diehard members

Open comments +

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?