Reacting To Jon Gray And The Colorado Rockies’ 4-1 Monday Loss
By Bobby DeMuro
Sep 14, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray (55) reacts after being pulled against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies’ young starting pitcher went toe to toe with a very good veteran last night — here are some random thoughts from Dodger Stadium.
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I didn’t see the betting line on Monday night’s game, but the Colorado Rockies probably weren’t going to win that one no matter what (and guess what? They didn’t!).
A young pitcher without a decision to his name going up against Clayton Kershaw in Dodger Stadium against a Los Angeles club more than 20 games above .500 and surging is… a tough task.
But Jon Gray acquitted himself very well, though he were inefficient with his pitches (over 90 in just 4.2 innings of work), and he struggled the third time through the lineup (which, to be fair, is pretty typical of rookies and, well, most pitchers against a lineup like the Dodgers).
Anyways, I’ve got some thoughts on last night’s matchup, having seen it in person at Dodger Stadium. (I’ll also be at Dodger Stadium tonight and tomorrow night, so, joined mid you’re in town!)
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Here we go:
On Jon Gray
I wasn’t watching the gun the entire game, but Gray hit as high as 97 mph that I saw, and as low as 90 mph with the fastball. That range tells me he’s playing around with speeds and locations — can he go inside and hard on a lefty? (He did that to Joc Pederson on a 2-2 pitch that was called a ball, before getting a strikeout slow and away on the next pitch).
Can he paint corners early in the at-bat at 92 mph, and then reach back for 96-97 when he needs it late? (He did that against Adrian Gonzalez in the first two at-bats — both strikeouts — against the Dodgers’ great first baseman).
These are good things. Gray is proving he knows how to pitch, rather than just show off his insanely strong arm. Oh, and he’s got a great pick-off move, too.
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On the bullpen
The bullpen did quite well on Monday night, right up until Miguel Castro allowed the two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth that effectively put the game out of reach. Castro has had a tough few weeks in Denver, but remember (a) how young he is, (b) how new he is to the organization, and (c) how hard he throws. The Colorado Rockies have something there.
Aside from Castro, Christian Friedrich threw a very important 1.1 innings out of the bullpen, Brooks Brown and Rex Brothers did their jobs, and the ‘pen did what it had to do to keep a one-run game as long as they could. Can’t fault them at all for that.
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On the eighth inning
A lead-off single by Brandon Barnes in the eighth inning brought Cristhian Adames up to pinch-hit. Adams failed to lay a bunt down (twice), and then struck out. Jose Reyes followed with a strikeout. And then DJ LeMahieu followed with his own strikeout.
All of this was after Kershaw was removed from the game, and the Colorado Rockies couldn’t do much against Luis Avilan (ugh) and Juan Nicasio (seriously? Juan Nicasio?). The eighth was one of four innings where the Rockies got the lead-off man on base and failed to score.
The eighth inning — really, all of this — speaks to one big thing that you already know: these little things (moving runners along in a one-run game, bullpen collapsing after several good innings and failing to hold quite long enough, etc.) are why the Rockies are nearing 25 games under .500. This is why bad teams are bad. It’s not always the obvious (crappy starting pitching) but sometimes the less-obvious “little things” that consistently get missed or messed up.
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On the crowd
The Dodger Stadium crowd is the weirdest in baseball. Half the folks arrive 45 minutes before the game decked out in Dodgers gear, and they are the most knowledgeable, focused crowd you can imagine, even on a week night against a bad team.
The other half arrive in the second inning, watch about ten pitches throughout the entire game, talk about their terrible office jobs, play on their phone, go get beer after beer, get up and sit down 25 times throughout the game, and generally would have no idea a baseball game is going on if you asked them.
I just described LA in a nutshell, though (the natives vs transplants battle). And if you think this couldn’t happen to you, Denver, I’d argue two things: (a) it already is, with all the people moving to town, and (b) it will only get worse, because the Californians are fleeing high rents and traffic and coming to Colorado. Prepare yourselves.