Colorado Rockies Win A Nail-Biter Behind Gray’s Strong Start
Jon Gray continues to prove that he’s got the goods to lead the Colorado Rockies’ pitching staff into the future.
The Colorado Rockies made mistakes and played with fire, but they still pulled out their second straight win against the Braves tonight at Coors Field. Credit deservedly goes to Gray for the victory as he pitched seven clean innings, the last of which ending with a sharp double play that brought him in under 100 pitches.
He did give up one run in the first, but that was arguably not his fault. Freddie Freeman tripled with two outs and Ryan Raburn made all kinds of blunders trying to get the ball in. Somehow he escaped without an error, but I think Freeman gets no better than a double if Raburn fields that cleanly.
Then Nick Markakis hit a soft grounder to Nolan Arenado, who ran right over the top of it. Arenado was in a tough spot either way because he was trying to cover third and he had a long way to go to get to the ball. Still, if he kept his eye on it he might have made the out at first.
In any case, Gray’s final line was 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 97 pitches, for a game score of 73. I’ll take that.
Meanwhile, the Rockies squandered all kinds of offensive opportunities, beginning in the 1st when Charlie Blackmon led off with a single, stole second, and then erased himself by taking too big a lead and getting picked off. It was a real shame when Arenado hit a triple on the next pitch and there was nobody on base to score. All told, the Rockies put four runners in scoring position and stranded every single one.
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Luckily, they didn’t need to put runners in scoring position to actually score runs; all four of their runs came in the 6th inning from two homers, each hit with a runner on first. They came courtesy of Arenado and Trevor Story, who both have 24 now on the season, good for second best in the National League. David Ortiz also has 24, but that’s a topic for another day.
Gray’s win nearly didn’t happen once Jason Motte entered the game in 8th. Motte has been inconsistent at best and unreliable at worst; tonight he needed a clean inning and didn’t get it. After an error by Brandon Barnes allowed the lead-off hitter to reach second, Motte served up a belt-high fastball to Jace Peterson, who delivered a no-doubter over the right field wall. It was a huge misfire in a close game where the home team had not been able to put a lot of offense together.
Carlos Estevez came to the mound in the 9th to close things out, and if he had been facing a better team, he would have blown the save. He gave up a double and two walks and found himself with the bases loaded and one out. A team that is playing good baseball manufactures at least the tying run out of that and probably more, but this was the Braves, so somehow Estevez managed a pop fly and a strikeout.
It might look impressive in the box score, but it was way too close a call. Estevez needs to tie it up tighter than that if he wants to keep closing games.
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Not an especially convincing win, but it goes down in the win column nonetheless. It would sure would be nice to see the Rockies take the series tomorrow night. Arrive early and secure your Charlie Blackmon X-Wing Fighter Pilot Bobblehead! It might even be one of those cringe-worthy times when the team gives out a promotional item on the same night they pull the player from the game because he’s been traded!