Jeff Hoffman will forever be linked to Troy Tulowitzki, no matter which direction the right-hander's career takes. He was considered the key piece for the Colorado Rockies when they traded their All-Star shortstop to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015.
Hoffman hasn't had the success the Rockies envisioned over the last few seasons, but his last outing showed why the Rockies were intrigued by him. He struck out a career-high eight Padres over 5 2/3 innings in San Diego last week and hopes to build on that outing when Colorado opens a three-game home series against San Diego on Friday night.
San Diego will counter with lefty Joey Lucchesi, who has a 1.57 ERA in his last four starts. It is a rematch of last Saturday's 3-0 win by the Padres in San Diego, where Lucchesi picked up the victory with six shutout innings.
Lucchesi (10-7, 3.84 ERA) has only been up in the majors since 2018, but he has already faced the Rockies seven times, all of them starts. He is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA and, even more impressively, is 1-0 with a 1.56 ERA in three starts at Coors Field.
Lucchesi walked five in Saturday's win but also fanned eight and was backed with homers from Wil Myers and Manny Machado. Myers had three hits in the win and is batting .417 in September to raise his average to .241 entering the series against the Rockies.
Myers has been searching for the type of consistency he has displayed in the first half of this month.
"I'm a really good baseball player," Myers said after the 3-0 win over Colorado. "I just have not been able to do it on a consistent basis. That's obviously frustrating for me. It's frustrating for the Padres, and it's frustrating for fans at times. I've just got to find a way to bring that out more often. It's been a long road, but I've just got to keep grinding."
Hoffman (1-6, 7.06) can relate to what Myers has gone through. He is 7-15 with a 6.19 ERA in his major league career and has had trouble finding the formula to succeed at this level. His only extended audition came in 2017, when he started 16 games in 23 appearances and finished 6-5 with a 5.89 ERA in 99 1/3 innings.
He pitched just 8 2/3 innings in the majors last year and has bounced between Triple-A and Colorado this year. His last trip to the minors came after giving up seven runs in two innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 13.
He worked with bullpen coach Darren Holmes on making some minor adjustments after that game, and he has seen good results. He is 0-2 in September but has a 4.22 ERA in 10 2/3 innings in two starts.
"When we look back, maybe next year from now or whatever, I think this will be the change that I made that allowed my career to continue," Hoffman said last week. "It's given me the confidence back to where if I get behind somebody, I can flip an offspeed (pitch) in there and get back in the count."
Hoffman is 1-2 with a 2.01 ERA in six games -- four starts -- in his career against San Diego.
--Field Level Media