A season gone wrong turned in its latest ugly chapter Tuesday night at Coors Field, when the Rockies scratched their most reliable starter because of ankle soreness and instead had to call up an unproven arm from Triple-A for a spot start against Arizona.
The results were as predicable as a bad movie script for last-place, underachieving Colorado.
Swapping Jon Gray for Jeff Hoffman — caused by Gray slipping and spraining his ankle as he came into the dugout last Friday in San Diego — led to a decisive 9-3 win for Arizona. Hoffman gave up three first-inning homers and seven runs through two hard-to-watch innings, and the Diamondbacks clinched the series while sending the spiraling Rockies to their seventh defeat in their last eight games.
“I had too many pitches in the middle of the zone,” Hoffman said. “It was a lack of feel. Everything is on me and my ability to execute a pitch. Tonight I couldn’t.”
Hoffman’s pitches appeared to be batting practice for Arizona from the game’s opening at-bat, when Jarrod Dyson teed off on a fastball for a homer on the second pitch. That made it 1-0, but the Diamondbacks were just getting warmed up against their divisional rivals.
A Ketel Marte walk followed, then Christian Walker hit a fly that carried out to the right-field seats for a somewhat cheap home run considering Statcast’s expected batting average on the pitch was .130. That made it 3-0 before Nick Ahmed belted another two-run homer, this time with two outs as Arizona went up 5-0.
“Everything was up,” manager Bud Black said. “His fastball command was spotty tonight, to say the least. And the changeup wasn’t a factor as he couldn’t seem to establish anything. It was a rough night for Jeff.”
🔊 Rockies podcast: Chi Chi Gonzalez on his comeback journey
Newman: If Rockies are serious about assessing for 2020, here’s the prospects they need to call up this year
Rockies designate Chris Iannetta for assignment, call up 24-year-old catching prospect Dom Nunez
Rockies blow early lead, give up three homers in sixth inning in loss to Diamondbacks
David Dahl, Rockies injured outfielder, aiming for early September return
Colorado got a run back in the bottom of the frame with Daniel Murphy’s RBI single to score Charlie Blackmon, but Arizona negated that with another home run off Hoffman in the second inning. This time it was David Peralta with a two-run homer to right field. His 113.2-mph sizzler — the hardest-hit ball of the evening — came on Hoffman’s dead-red fastball and inflated the visitors’ lead to 7-1 as boos rained down upon the right-hander.
Meanwhile, the Rockies’ offense banged out hits against Arizona rookie Zac Gallen, but the Diamondbacks’ right-hander consistently worked around traffic.