The climb has seemed as insurmountable as Mount Everest at times. For the Colorado Rockies, their trek back to .500 and an advance up the National League West standings is finally gaining ground.
With their 5-4 win over the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, the Rockies moved into a tie for third place in the division at 27-27, a far cry from their lowly 3-12 start.
Ahead are takeaways from the club’s fourth win in a row.
Hoffman proves valuable to winning streak
The narrative around Jeff Hoffman is one of disappointment, backed by expectation. As the main piece in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, many wanted the memories from the former Rockies’ superstar to live on through his right arm.
Unfair or not, Hoffman once again tried his best to make an impact at the game’s highest level. He twirled five frames and allowed three earned runs, striking out six in the club’s latest win. For a fifth starter, a highly-respectable showing.
A dirty second and fifth frame proved to be the difference between a good and great start.
In the second stanza, after a two-strikeout first, Hoffman struggled. His control wavered, leaving his pitches near the middle of the zone. The Diamondbacks took advantage, registering four hits in a row before the youngster settled down and got out of trouble.
With the bases loaded and two outs, he hurled a 96-mile-per-hour fastball past Eduardo Escobar to end the threat.
Countering his occasional blunders on the mound, Hoffman laid down a bunt in the deciding fourth inning with two outs to score Ian Desmond:
Hoff actually wears goggles because he's so fast 🏃♂️💨 pic.twitter.com/uAV7Jd6JzL
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) May 30, 2019
He’ll struggle to become the ‘ace’ many thought was so clearly possible. However, Hoffman is capable of giving Bud Black and company a chance in several games.
Rodgers continues to produce
Brendan Rodgers has been in the big leagues for less than a month. His attributes have been far more seasoned this his time table would predict.
Once again, tasked with a game-altering situation, the infielder came through, slicing a ball to right field with the bases loaded. The two-run hit brought his runs batted in total to seven in only nine games and his average bumped up to .313 in the process.
It often appeared that all levels of minor league baseball were forced to catch up to Rodgers, in spite of his youth. The streak, to a smaller degree, has found it’s way to Major League Baseball.
Story changes the tale after rough spell
Trevor Story is going to strike out. He did it 168 times last year and a whopping 191 times the year before that.
In a pair of starts in the club’s 10-game homestand, the shortstop struck out six times in eight at-bats, going hitless in the mini-slump. Against the Diamondbacks, he halted the drought before it took hold.
Story took a pair of fastballs to the outfield in both of his opening at-bats to set the table for runs. His 10th stolen base of the year furthered those efforts.
He finished the day 3-for-4 with two singles and a hustle double on an aggressive maneuver to garner another base on a routine single. The play was yet another example of the hard-nosed play that Black has preached.
The maturation process has revealed itself greatly in Story’s ability to avoid the prolonged slumps that hindered him early in his career. Now, the good times far outweigh the bad.
The dichotomies of baseball strike against Iannetta
Baseball is one of the most unforgiving sports. One minute, a player is the hero. The next, they have fallen apart. While Chris Iannetta hasn’t crumbled, he was forced to endure the pain of the game’s reality.
In Tuesday night’s win, through the sleet of the Colorado skies, the backstop launched a two-run homer into the night. The long ball was his fourth of the year and put the club ahead for good.
The results on Wednesday were a direct juxtaposition.
For each of Iannetta’s first three at-bats, the club had traffic on the basepaths. All three times, the veteran grounded into a double play. The lackluster stretch brought his total to six on the year, a team-leading total.
New contact lenses have enabled Iannetta to once again swing the bat well. It appears it just wasn’t his night.