EXCLUSIVE: Jeff Hoffman is starting Thursday, he told us why he’s a better pitcher now

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DENVER - The Colorado Rockies announced Thursday afternoon that right-hander Jeff Hoffman will make his first start in MLB in the 2017 season tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tyler Anderson, who was originally scheduled for this game, has been moved back two days, Tyler Chatwood will pitch tomorrow.

Hoffman pitched 31.1 innings at the MLB level last season, posting an ERA of 4.88 while facing some pretty tough competition. He will see some of that competition again tonight against the mighty Dodgers.

The primary piece of the Troy Tulowitzki trade, Hoffman seemed like he would break the season with the club until Antonio Senzatela came screaming into the picture with a phenomenal spring that has carried right over into the season.

Hoffman, meanwhile, still showed he needed to iron a few things out and the scouting reports suggest he has already made great progress in his first month of 2017. Over 34 innings, he has posted an ERA of 3.71 but most encouragingly has lowered his walk rate by about a batter per nine innings.

BSN Denver grabbed an exclusive interview with Hoffman the day he was called up and he says he is in a good place.

"I've felt good. I've felt like I'm improving every time out," he said. "The stuff I was sent to work on, I've gotten better at those things. I feel like I'm a better overall pitcher."

What kind of "stuff" we ask.

"Fastball command, making sure we're getting ahead of everybody, getting 0-1 and not 1-0. When you do that the batting average significantly drops. I just want to go out there and execute my game plan which is to attack the zone."

Hoffman joins a rotation that is bursting at the seams with incredible young talent. Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela have been the anchors of the rotation and Hoffman will make his season debut just a day after German Marquez pitched a three-hitter in his fifth-ever start.

Hoffman says they are all in this thing together.

"Yeah, I'm really close with Kyle. We're keeping in touch. Every time I see him go out there and shove it, I send him a text and let him know I'm proud of him. It's important to have that camaraderie. We're all kinda the same age and we're going through this stuff together. And we're all looking forward to it."

With the way the Rockies young pitching has been performing so far, and with the general outlook of the team, pretty much everyone in the 303 and 970 area codes are looking forward to it.

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