Pitching for Reds a ‘new beginning’ for Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman interview (April 4, 2021)

First-year Red will pitch again Saturday in Phoenix

The Cincinnati Reds’ performance in the first six games — five victories and a plus-31 run differential — proves once again just how meaningless spring training stats are.

The Reds finished last in the Cactus League with a 7-19 record, while giving up 6.8 runs per game. Jeff Hoffman earned a job in the starting rotation despite posting an 8.50 ERA in five starts.

Prior to his first start of the 2021 season, Hoffman talked about making adjustments in spring training. Despite his numbers in March, he was confident about the direction he and the team were heading as April began, and he called coming to Cincinnati after six seasons with the Colorado Rockies a rebirth for his career.

Then Hoffman lived up to that thinking in his first start, allowing one earned run on three hits in five innings Sunday as the Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 12-1 in the third game of the season.

“That one definitely felt good,” Hoffman said. “I feel like every day I come to the park, it’s a new beginning. I’m really excited to be here and to be working with the people that I’m working with. Not that I’m not a happy guy, but l am extremely happy when I come through these doors every day.”

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Hoffman will make his second start of the season at 8:10 p.m. Saturday as the Reds play the second game of a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.

The first start gave Hoffman confidence he can build on the changes he made in the spring.

“We’re rolling with it,’ he said. “Everything that I did (Sunday) is the stuff that we’re working on. There obviously are still some some pitches that get away andthings that I have to try to minimize. But for the most part, we executed pretty well and I stayed within myself and made some made some decent pitches. That was a decent lineup I faced today.

Reds pitchers got a boost from an offense that averaged 9.6 runs in the first six games. Through Thursday, no other team in baseball was averaging more than 7.2.

“We’re always feeding off of each other, whether it’s a big swing or a 1-2-3 inning,” Hoffman said. “Getting getting the boys back in the dugout and getting them back in the box, that’s something that great teams do. That’s definitely something that we’re aware of.”

The Reds acquired Hoffman and another right-handed pitcher, Case Williams, from Rockies in December for right-handed pitcher Robert Stephenson and minor-league outfielder Jameson Hannah. Hoffman, 29, made 16 relief appearances for the Rockies last season. He had a 9.28 ERA. He was a starter in 2019 and was 2-6 with a 6.56 ERA in 15 starts.

Prior to Hoffman’s first start, Reds manager David Bell said the Reds were excited about Hoffman’s potential and were happy to acquire him.

“He has really settled in,” Bell said. “He loves being here. He likes working with our pitching coaches. We see a guy that’s trending upward and is going to keep getting better. We like pitchers like him, the stuff that he has. We feel like we can help him maximize who he is. Obviously, he’s gotten himself to his point. He’ll continue to do things on his own to become the pitcher we know he can be. He showed us enough in spring training for us to be really excited about watching him and seeing how this season goes.”

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