For the second time in a week, the Colorado Rockies have taken the first two games of a series from the Atlanta Braves. Here are five takeaways from Colorado’s 4-3 win Friday night at Coors Field.
1. All hail Jon Gray, pitching phenom
That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but Gray is looking like the guy the Colorado Rockies were hoping for when they selected him 3rd-overall in 2013. Over his last three starts, Gray has struck out 20 hitters in 19.1 innings while allowing just five runs.
The normal disclaimers about small sample sizes and the Braves general ineptitude apply here, but Gray is clearly on an upward trajectory right now, and Colorado fans should be excited to see what his future holds.
2. More trash heaped on to Atlanta dumpster fire
If you grew up watching baseball in the ’90s, you knew the Braves as a model of excellence and consistency. The 2016 version of the team is… not that. One of the few bright spots for Atlanta this year has been Julio Teheran, who has pitched much better than his 3-8 record would indicate.
Teheran looked to be well on his way to a strong outing Friday night before experiencing what the Braves described as “right lat tightness”. Teheran is currently considered day-to-day, but with Atlanta well out of the playoff picture, you’d have to imagine they will be extremely cautious with the 25-year-old right hander.
3. Please stop running the bases like dopes
The Rockies sloppy baserunning cost them multiple early chances at runs. Charlie Blackmon led off the inning with a single and stole second before Nolan Arenado hit a triple. Except, Blackmon got picked off beforehand, so the Braves escaped the inning with no runs scoring.
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Later on, Mark Reynolds led off with a single and promptly got himself picked off right before a Nick Hundley double. It didn’t end up costing them, but the Rockies can’t afford to play this sloppy if they’re going to beat teams better than Atlanta.
Estevez has excellent stuff and a bright future with Colorado, but right now he’s still too wild to rely on as the last man out of the bullpen. Estevez has now walked 17 hitters in just 35.1 innings, and while he managed to work his way through two walks Friday, he’s living dangerously giving away all these free passes.
The Rockies likely want to avoid putting Ottavino back into high-stress situations this soon after his return from surgery, but they don’t have many other options.
The Rockies have some of MLB’s most dangerous power hitters, and they showed it Friday with a pair of two-run homers from Arenado and Trevor Story. When the top of the order is locked in, Colorado’s offense is a joy to watch.
But when the home runs aren’t coming (and every lineup goes through spells where they don’t), the Rockies offense generally dries up. Friday night, Colorado did very little outside of the pair of homers in the sixth inning. Power hitters are great, but the 2017 edition of this team could probably use a few more contact hitters.