HOFFMAN IMPRESSES DESPITE LOSS
This was the kind of performance the Rockies have been looking for from rookie righthander Jeff Hoffman.
Despite the Rockies’ 3-2, ninthinning loss to Philadelphia on Sunday, Hoffman delivered quality. He pitched seven innings, allowed one run on four hits, struck out eight and walked only one.
“It kind of (stinks) that the game turned out the way it did, but I felt like I commanded all four pitches pretty well,” Hoffman said.
Manager Bud Black said he thought Hoffman got stronger as the game went on. Hoffman agreed.
“I felt like my command got better, and I thought my fastball velocity got better,” Hoffman said. “That’s always good when you get to the third or fourth time through (the batting order). You have, in a sense, new stuff to show those guys.”
Hoffman (6-3, 5.03 ERA) said his curveball had not been as effective since May 22 at Phila- delphia when he pitched seven innings, allowed one run on three hits and whiffed seven.
Rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela is back in the rotation and veteran right-hander Tyler Chatwood has been sent to the bullpen. Senzatela is scheduled to start Wednesday at Cleveland, taking the spot of rookie lefthander Kyle Freeland, who is on the disabled list with a strained left groin.
“We knew that it was going to be ‘Chatty’ or Antonio,” Black said, though he declined to elaborate as to why he picked Senzatela over Chatwood. “I can’t share with you what made our final decision, but we feel good about Antonio starting the game. And we feel good about ‘Chatty’ starting a game. … We are going to use all of our guys.”
Chatwood insists he’s throwing the ball well, but the raw numbers tell a different story. He’s 6-12 with a 5.11 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. He started Wednesday’s game against the New York Mets and pitched well for three perfect innings, but the final results were ugly. He got rung up for eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits, including two home runs as the Rockies blew a 5-0 lead and lost 10-5.
Chatwood’s pattern of not being able to stay in command for a full outing has plagued him for much of the season.
Senzatela (10-4, 4.78 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) was moved out of the rotation as he worked on his fastball command and tried to hone his slider. He pitched the final three innings of Wednesday’s game and looked sharp, allowing no runs and one hit while striking out four. Senzatela also worked out of the bullpen Friday night in the Rockies’ 4-3 win over the Phillies. He was not nearly as effective, yielding two runs on three hits over two innings.
Chatwood still considers himself a starter, and he believes the calf injury that landed him on the disabled list last month affected his performance, but he said he would do whatever the teams asks.
“I want to start,” Chatwood said. “I will do whatever the team asks, but if you look at my career numbers and I’m pretty good as a starter. We are in a playoff run, so if they want me to help out in the bullpen, I will help out in the bullpen.”
Chatwood owns a career record of 38-43 with a 4.36 ERA.
Freeland, who strained his left groin in the first inning of his start Friday, threw long toss from 75-80 feet Sunday and did it without pain, according to head trainer Keith Dugger.
There is no timetable for Freeland’s return. He went on the 10-day disabled list Saturday, but tests revealed no major damage. Black is more optimistic now than he was when Freeland was injured Friday night.
“When he was in the dugout and he sat down … he really stiffened up,” Black said. “And the walk from where he was sitting, and then down the stairs, was not good. I was like, ‘Oh, no!’ But as the night went on and then yesterday, he felt OK. But we’ll see.”
Left-hander Jake McGee, on the DL because of midback spasms, returned to the active roster Sunday, and the club optioned Shane Carle to Triple-A Albuquerque. McGee’s return significantly bolsters the back of Colorado’s bullpen. McGee, who turned 31 on Sunday, is 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA. … Shortstop Brendan Rodgers, the Rockies’ top prospect, was removed from his game for Double-A Hartford on Sunday because of a tight quadriceps.