Colorado Rockies Bud Black: Focus during slump is on pitching
By Kevin Henry
As we’ve been discussing, like in this article, one of the biggest issues with the Colorado Rockies’ six-game losing streak has been pitching. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have lit up Colorado pitching for 57 runs over the last six games. That’s never a good number, especially when you’re playing teams within your division.
This morning on MLB Network Radio, Rockies manager Bud Black was asked about his team and its mental state heading into Tuesday night’s game in San Francisco. Black gave an interesting quote…
"“You know, you look at your guys, you look at the vibe, you see where their heads are – so far, so good with this group. The position players, for the most part, have been around. They’re tested. The trick is to make sure that our young starters are in a good spot, where they’re not losing confidence or trying too hard. For instance, Hoffman tonight – we just need him to go out and pitch his game and not put any more pressure on himself to throw a gem. That’s where our focus is. The pitching. The position player group, those guys are solid.”"
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Yes, Jeff Hoffman will be called upon tonight in San Francisco to put an end to the Colorado slide. The 24-year-old right-hander is 4-1 this season with a 4.29 ERA in seven appearances (including six starts). Hoffman’s ERA jumped over two runs after giving up nine runs in a June 21 loss to the Diamondbacks. That game was the start of Colorado’s six-game skid.
As Troy Renck pointed out this morning on Twitter, Colorado’s young starters were blazing a historic trail through the first part of the season. Remember, according to Elias, with Kyle Freeland’s eight wins and Antonio Senzatela’s nine wins, Colorado became the first team in 80 years to have two rookie pitchers with at least eight wins in the team’s first 75 games of a season. We’ve been witnessing history … and we’ve sometimes forgotten that we’re doing just that.
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Black, pitching coach Steve Foster and bullpen coach Darren Holmes have done a masterful job so far this season with Colorado’s young pitching staff. Now they face perhaps their toughest challenge yet: Making sure these young pitchers can not only handle adversity but overcome it.