The Rockies will finally need a fifth starter again next weekend after being able to skip that spot because of three off days in a two-week stretch.
Jeff Hoffman has been making a strong case for that opportunity with his recent efforts at AAA Albuquerque.
Friday night, Hoffman gets a fourth chance to reinforce the belief he has made the adjustments necessary to get another shot at a spot in the Rockies big-league rotation.
Hoffman is scheduled to start Friday for the Isotopes against El Paso in Albuquerque. HE goes into the game having not only won his last three starts, but dominating them. In 18 1/3 innings he has allowed four earned runs on five walks and nine hits, striking out 27.
This came after a season-opening effort in which he had a 13.89 ERA in his first three starts, allowing 18 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings.
The rotation opening was created when Tyler Anderson was initially optioned to Albuqerque, but chose to undergo further tests on his ailing left knee, which is expected to lead to additional surgery for the left-hander.
Hoffman made one emergency start for the Rockies earlier this season when Kyle Freeland was on the 10-day disabled list. In that April 23 games against the Nationals at Coors Field, he worked five innings, giving up four runs -- all of them in the third inning. In the four other innings he allowed two singles, facing 14 batters.
In Thursday's Games
AAA Albuquerque (21-20) won 10-2 against El Paso (D-backs). Tim Melville (2-0, 0.90) won his second start since being purchased from the independent Atlantic League. He allowed one hit, walked four and struck out seven in five scoreless innings. Roberto Ramos (.277) was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and his ninth home run, a three-run shot. Garrett Hampson (.333) was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, a stolen bases and a home run in his second game since being sent down from the Rockies. Elliot Soto (.318) hit his third home-run, a two-run shot. Reliever Nelson Gonzalez gave up both runs in the eighth, and left with an injury.
AA Hartford (22-18) won 4-3 against New Hampshire (Blue Jays). Vince Fernandez (.287) drove in three runs with his ninth and 10th home runs. Alan Trejo (.315) was 2-for-4, driving in the other run. Jordan Foley (2-4, 6.75) pitched two scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out one. Ben Bowden (1.62) earned his 13th save with a perfect ninth in which he struck out one.
High A Lancaster (22-19) lost 7-2 against Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers). Nick Kennedy (0-1, 7.20) allowed six runs, two earned, on five hits and a walk in two innings, suffering the lost. Antonio Santos (3.65) allowed one run in six innings, giving up eight hits and striking out three. Sean Bouchard (.250) was 2-for-4 with a double and RBI, and Casey Golden (.282) was 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly, and his fifth stolen base.
Low A Asheville (14-25) lost 10-5 at Rome (Braves). Alfredo Garcia (0-4, 9.55) allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks, striking out four in three innings. Terrin Vavra (.319) was 3-for-5. Javier Guevara (.221) was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Coc Montes (.224) was 1-for-2 with a double and RBI.