Albuquerque Isotopes right-hander Jeff Hoffman had a bizarre start Tuesday night. On one hand, he only allowed one earned run on five hits and two walks but on the other hand he racked up 84 pitches in just 3.2 innings.
Even with some time to reflect on the start, Hoffman could not put his finger on exactly what went wrong. Manager Glenallen Hill said Tuesday night that he felt a lot of it had to do with Hoffman’s slow tempo in between pitches but Hoffman said he couldn’t even figure out why that was happening.
“Honestly, I don’t have anything for you,” he said. “I felt like I was a little bit out of tempo but I didn’t think it was enough to ruin a start.
“I (still) battled, I made pitches when I absolutely needed to, which is what I need to do. So, that’s all I was trying to do was make pitches.”
Hoffman may only be 23 but he has been pitching long enough to know some inexplicable hiccups happen. Now he just has to learn from it and move on.
“Yeah, absolutely, they definitely do happen,” he said. “I’m glad that I was able to limit the damage last night, because that could have gotten a lot worse.”
Hoffman gave up a one-out triple in the first inning but then got a soft lineout and struck out Peter O’Brien swinging. In the second, he allowed a leadoff home run to Kyle Jensen but then got two strikeouts sandwiched around a flyball out.
“If I wasn’t able to make the pitches when they were do or die,” Hoffman said, “That game could have easily been a tie ballgame.”
Hoffman escaped a jam in the third via a double play and a flyout. Two unearned runs came across in the fourth but Hoffman did record two strikeouts before finally being pulled due to the escalating pitch count.
“I don’t think I forget about it at all,” he said. “I don’t think I threw the ball bad at all last night, I think I threw well.
“So I think if anything I look to get better from every start, whether it was a good or bad start. Next time out I’m definitely going to try to pitch to more contact and definitely take my pitch count down a lot more.”
Hoffman said he had no issues with any specific pitch. His velocity was good, too, as he was hitting 94 mph on the stadium gun, which is usually 2-3 mph slow.
“I felt like early on everything felt really good; the first inning I gave up that triple to (Jack) Reinheimer and I worked out of that,” Hoffman said. “My command on everything was good.
“As the game went on the command from my glove side wavered but my command inside to righties was great. (Thursday) in my bullpen session I’ll work on that extension of my command and get back to what I was doing the first two starts.”
Hoffman will make his next start Sunday at Las Vegas. The Rockies’ No. 5 prospect is now 2-0 with a 1.62 ERA on the season.