For all of the good things the Rockies’ rookie starters have done this season, there remains a certain fragility to the rotation, and there are questions about its sustainability for a long season.
That was painfully clear Wednesday night at Coors Field, where Arizona torched rookie right-hander Jeff Hoffman en route to a 16-5 victory.
The talented Diamondbacks, winners of eight of their last nine games, put a screeching halt to Colorado’s six-game winning streak and moved within one game of the Rockies in the National League West. The red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers, hosting the New York Mets in a late game on the West Coast, had a chance to climb into first place.
Boxscore: Arizona 16, Colorado 5
Hoffman was charged with nine runs on eight hits in a mere 3 ⅔ innings. He allowed just one hit over the first three innings and looked sharp, but the fourth inning was a Titanic-hitting-the-iceberg kind of disaster. The Diamondbacks rapped out nine hits and scored 10 runs in the inning, and nine of those runs were charged to Hoffman.
The only other time a Rockies pitcher allowed nine or more runs in one inning was when Mark Redman gave up 10 runs in the first inning to the Dodgers on April 26, 2008, at Los Angeles.
Hoffman entered the game 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA, but Paul Goldschmidt, Brandon Drury and Chris Iannetta raked him for doubles in the fourth as Hoffman’s ERA jumped to 4.29.
With right-hander Jon Gray and left-hander Tyler Anderson close to returning from the disabled list, Hoffman’s rough night will give manager Bud Black and general manager Jeff Bridich plenty to contemplate in the coming days and weeks.
Any thoughts about the Rockies getting back into Wednesday’s game with a miracle rally were short-circuited when supposed mop-up reliever Jordan Lyles replaced Hoffman. Arizona tagged Lyles for three runs on six hits in 2 ⅓ innings, sending his ERA to 7.16.
Colorado’s rookie quartet of Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela and Hoffman entered the game 26-9 with a combined ERA of 3.60, but Arizona’s powerhouse lineup took it to Hoffman — and Lyles.
Arizona’s 10 runs and nine hits in one inning set franchise records for a road game.
The Rockies actually led 1-0 on Mark Reynolds’ solo homer to center in the second inning off Diamondbacks starter Taijuan Walker. It was Reynolds’ team-high 18th homer.
Nolan Arenado’s two-run double in the fifth cut Arizona’s lead to 10-3. Since June 1, Arenado is batting .367 with three home runs, 10 doubles, three triples and 25 RBIs.
But Lyles, and then Carlos Estevez (8.10 ERA) and Mike Dunn (6.35 ERA), failed to quiet the Diamondbacks’ bats. All told, Arizona rapped out 20 hits, the most allowed by Colorado this season.
Thursday afternoon, Colorado has a chance to erase Wednesday’s ugly game and take the three-game series. Senzatela will be on the mound for Colorado.