Friday Down on the Farm: Hoffman's Consistent With Inconsistency on the Mound

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After back-to-back losses of 10-0 at Tacoma on Monday and a 10-1 loss to Reno at home on Tuesday, Triple-A Albuquerque manager Glenallen Hill talked about looking for positives, like the fact the Isotopes allowed runs in only two of nine innings in that loss to Reno.

“I always look for positives because this is a development league,” said Hill, whose big-league playing career includes parts of 13 years in which he appeared in 1,162 games. “It’s our job to manage confidence.”

But sometimes there is a need to be realistic, like Tuesday night, when after his talk of positive, he provided an honest look at the ongoing struggles of Jeff Hoffman, the highly-touted pitching prospect the Rockies acquired from Toronto in the Troy Tulowitzki trade.

Hoffman has been given looks at the big league level, but it has been a struggle, underscored by the fact he is now spending part of a fourth season at Albuquerque without taking a major step forward. Hoffman is a combined 15-22 with a 4.25 ERA. The concern is Hoffman hasn’t shown progress.

His ERA has risen each year in Albuquerque from 4.02 in 2016 to 5.71 in 2017 to 4.94 in 2018 to 13.89 after three starts in 2019. And the worst came Tuesday in a four-inning effort against Reno – the third time in three starts this year Hoffman has failed to get an out in the fifth inning.

The Isotopes lost the game 10-1. Hoffman gave up all 10 runs in his four innings.

“He didn’t have very good command of his fastball,” Hill told the Albuquerque Journal. “And the fastballs that were thrown towards the plate were either missed or thrown right down the middle. And he didn’t use his breaking stuff effectively. They were a non-factor, and they just sat on fastballs and got some balls out over the plate.”

In Thursday’s Games

AAA Albuquerque (8-7) split a doubleheader with Reno (D-backs), losing 6-3 in Game 1, and winning Game 2 by a 4-2 score. In Game 1, Evan Grills (1-2, 8.10) gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks, striking out two in five innings. Drew Weeks (.220) hit a two-run home run in the fourth. In Game 2, Sam Hillard (.177) singled to drive in two runs and scored a third, and Brian Mundell (.343) was 2-for-3 with a run scored and RBI.

AA Hartford (6-9) lost 5-3 against New Hampshire (Blue Jays). Rico Garcia (3.46) started and allowed one run on two hits and three walks, striking out eight in five innings. Jordan Foley (1-2, 10.57) came on in relief and retired only one of seven batters he faced, giving up three runs on four hits, two walks and a strikeout. Vince Fernandez (.308) was 2-for-4 with a run scored.

High A Lancaster (7-8) lost 5-4 at Visalia (D-backs). Antonio Santos (0-1, 5.28) allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits and a walk, striking out seven, in 4 2/3 innings. Ryan Vilade (.346) was 2-for-4, and Carlos Herrera (.304) was 3-for-5 with a three-run home run with two out in the ninth.

Low A Asheville (6-9) lost 12-7 against West Virginia (Mariners). Alfredo Garcia (0-2, 9.00) allowed six runs on 10 hits and three walks, striking out three. It was the second time in three starts he has allowed six runs and failed to survive five innings. Will Golsan (.268) was 2-for-6 with three RBI.