Colorado Rockies: 3 questions left unanswered with spring stoppage

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Chi Chi Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies

DENVER, COLORADO – SEPTEMBER 10: Starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez #50 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the fifth inning against the St Louis Cardinals at Coors Field on September 10, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Who will take the fifth starter spot for the Rockies?

There is no question that German Marquez, Jon Gray, and Kyle Freeland will lead the Rockies rotation in 2020. It is widely thought that Antonio Senzatela be a part of the rotation mix. However, who will fill in the fifth starter role is still very much up in the air.

Jeff Hoffman is one of the options but gave up 10 hits to the 30 batters he faced in 5.2 innings spanning three outings. His 6.35 ERA and three walks with just four strikeouts wasn’t the kind of reassuring stats the Rockies were hoping to see this spring, especially with Hoffman out of minor league options.

Ubaldo Jimenez is likely still in the mix, but his last outing of the spring was problematic. After giving up four hits and two runs in four combined innings in his first two starts of spring, Jimenez was rocked by the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last spring start, giving up five hits and seven runs (three earned) in just 1.1 innings. After that game, manager Bud Black assured me and other members of the media that Jimenez was going to be a starter. He also said that the veteran would likely be willing to accept a stint in Triple-A in an effort to work his way back to the Major League mound.

Peter Lambert was thought to be in the mix, but a right forearm injury (to which we still don’t exactly know the extent of that injury) will likely knock him out of the competition … for the time being.

Finally, there is Chi Chi Gonzalez, who I believe will land the fifth starter role when the season kicks back in. He’s faced 42 batters so far this spring and allowed 11 hits in 10 combined innings. The ERA is sitting at 6.30 and he’s allowed two homers.

But there’s a spring split to talk about here. In his first two spring outings, he gave up seven runs in four innings. In his last two outings, he’s struck out three each time while scattering four hits and not allowing a run in six innings of work.

That has clearly put him in the lead for the job, meaning Hoffman (if he is still on the roster) would move to a long reliever role.

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