Jon Gray Piles Up the Ks Against the San Diego Padres
Batman has the Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor. The San Diego Padres have Jon Gray, the Colorado Rockies pitcher who looks like a superhero to the fans of the purple and black and an arch-villain to those in Southern California.
Much like Nolan Arenado seems to flourish against the San Francisco Giants, Gray seemingly has some of his best efforts against the Padres. Sunday night’s outing against San Diego was the second time in as many trips to Petco Park that Gray has dominated the Padres offense.
On May 2, Gray struck out 11 Padres in a 2-1 loss to San Diego. Sunday night, Gray not only saw an improvement in his team’s fortunes but also in his strikeout totals as well. The 2013 third overall pick out of the University of Oklahoma whiffed 12 Padres as the Rockies snapped their four-game losing skid with a resounding 10-3 victory.
Gray has now struck out 61 batters in 52.1 innings of work this season … and 23 of those have come in 13 innings in San Diego. He’s also won his last three overall outings, improving to 4-2 with a 5.33 ERA.
After a string of troublesome starts by their starting pitchers, the Rockies needed a big performance … and they got just that from Gray. How big was last night’s performance and why was it one for the record books? Let’s take a look.
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It was the first time that a Rockies pitcher struck out 12 batters while throwing less than 100 pitches. In all, it was the ninth time that a Colorado pitcher had thrown less than 100 pitches and struck out 10 or more. Gray holds three of those, including the aforementioned 11-strikeout performance against the Padres on May 2. He also struck out 10 on April 22 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Other pitchers who have accomplished the feat include Pedro Astacio (11 strikeouts against the Florida Marlins on May 18, 2001), John Wasdin (11 against the Marlins on September 23, 2000), Tyler Chatwood (10 against the Houston Astros on May 29, 2013), Jorge De La Rosa (10 against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 15, 2009), Christian Friedrich (10 against the Giants on May 14, 2012) and Juan Nicasio (10 against the Padres on July 31, 2011).
His 12 strikeouts tied for fourth-most in franchise history. Only Darryl Kile (14 against the Montreal Expos on August 20, 1998), Shawn Chacon (13 against the Astros on June 7, 2001) and Ubaldo Jimenez (13 against the Padres on May 3, 2010) have more in a game.
Next: Why Nolan Arenado Needs to Keep Yelling
Jon Gray also became the second Rockies pitcher ever to strike out the first five or more opposing batters of a game. The first to do so was Bruce Ruffin on June 13, 1993, against the Astros. Gray was the first pitcher in the majors to accomplish that feat this season.