Rockies' Hoffman feels right at home against Mets (Jul 16, 2017)

BY AP • July 16, 2017

NEW YORK -- On Sunday afternoon, Colorado Rockies right-hander Jeff Hoffman will get to understand what New York Mets left-hander Steven Matz experiences every time he pitches at Citi Field: The opportunity to pitch in front of family and friends.

Hoffman will make a homecoming of sorts Sunday when he takes the mound for the Rockies as they look to salvage the finale of a three-game series against the host Mets.

New York (41-47) cruised to an 8-3 victory Saturday and has outscored Colorado (52-41) by a robust 23-5 in winning the first two games of the series.

Hoffman (5-1, 4.15 ERA) will oppose Matz (2-2, 3.05) in a matchup of pitchers with plenty of New York ties. Hoffman, 24, is a native of Latham, N.Y., located less than three hours from Citi Field. This will be his first major league start in New York state.

"Hopefully he'll have a lot of tickets on Sunday for fans rooting for the Rockies here in New York," Rockies manager Bud Black said Friday.

Those in attendance Sunday will see a pitcher who has made some strides since June 3, when he was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque for the fourth time this season. Hoffman is 3-1 with a 4.43 ERA in his last seven starts, though the ERA is skewed by a rough outing June 21 in which he gave up nine runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He's surrendered three runs or fewer in five other starts, with the other exception coming in his most recent appearance July 8, when Hoffman didn't factor into the decision after allowing four runs over seven innings as the Rockies fell to the Chicago White Sox 5-4.

"I think Jeff's come a long way in a short period of time," Black said. "Now he's settled in, he's done a very nice job in our rotation."

Hoffman has never faced the Mets.

Matz, 26, grew up in Stony Brook, N.Y., about an hour east of Citi Field, and regularly has a loud cheering section rooting for him. He endured his worst start of the season in his most recent start July 9, taking the loss after giving up five runs over 4 1/3 innings as the Mets fell to the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0.

"You want to go deep into games, you want to be efficient and today I didn't do that, so I was frustrated," Matz told reporters following the game.

Matz entered the start against the Cardinals with 17 straight scoreless innings dating back to June 22. The five runs he allowed were three less than Matz surrendered in his first five starts of the season combined.

"You're not going to be great every time out," Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters following the game. "Of all the times so far that he's pitched, today was the one day that he didn't have his stuff."

Matz took the defeat in his lone previous appearance against the Rockies last July 29, when he gave up two runs over six innings as the Mets lost 6-1 at Citi Field.

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