Washington Nationals vs. Rockies Series Preview (8/26-8/28)
Jeff Hoffman (0-1, 13.50 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (8-9, 4.30) – 7:05 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN2
Tonight, the Washington Nationals will face Hoffman, who will be making just his second Major League start. Hoffman was one of the prospects acquired in the Troy Tulowitzki deal with the Blue Jays back in July 2015.
The 23-year-old right-hander made his Major League debut on August 20 against the Cubs. He went four innings, gave up six runs on seven hits, struck out two, and walked one on 77 pitches in a loss.
At triple-A Alberqueue, Hoffman was 6-9 with a 4.02 ERA in 22 starts, but he had 124 strikeouts in 118.2 innings. Over his last five starts in the minors, he was 2-2 with a 3.98 ERA. The ERA seems high, but the Pacific Coast League is generally known as a hitter friendly league.
As far as what Hoffman brings to the pitcher’s mound, he has an average velocity of almost 94 miles per hour on his fastball (according to Fangraphs) to go with a slider, breaking ball, and changeup.
Gonzalez’s quest on his 100th career win fell short against the Braves on August 20. He went 5.2 innings, gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits, struck out eight, and walked three on 112 pitches in a no-decision.
If the Nats bullpen could’ve protected the three run, Gonzalez would’ve picked up his fourth win in seven starts since the All-Star Break. Plus, the defense let him down in a game where the team made five errors. This month, the 30-year-old left-hander is 2-0 with a 4.35 ERA in four starts.
Back on August 16, Gonzalez had his outing against the Rockies at Coors Field cut short because of rain. He only went three innings and gave up a two-run home run to D.J. LeMahieu. Gonzalez is 2-0 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts against Colorado. Ryan Raburn is 7-for-14 against him with three home runs and four RBI’s.
Prediction: While I expect the Nats lineup to have some difficulty against Hoffman in his first career road start, I think they will find a way to adjust and get one big inning. Gonzalez will put together a quality outing and finally get his 100th win.
Next: Tomorrow's Matchup