The Colorado Rockies were in Baltimore tonight to celebrate #GrayDay against the Orioles and both teams were looking for a series win. The Rockies came away with one of the best series wins they have had all season, beating the Orioles by a score of 3-1. Here are the 5 storylines from Wednesday’s game in Baltimore:
1. The Battle of Oklahoma: The pitching matchup slotted two first-round draft picks from Oklahoma. Dylan Bundy, the fourth pick of the 2011 draft, started his fourth game for the Orioles and Jon Gray took the mound for the Colorado Rockies. Jon Gray did not have his best stuff, struggling to locate his offspeed pitches and missing a tick on his fastball. Bundy had all of his best stuff as he was perfect through 5.1 innings and struck out eight with one of the nastiest curveballs I have seen. His bid for perfection was ruined when Mark Reynolds earned a walk
with a lengthy at-bat, which was followed by a Nick Hundley home run. Just like that Bundy seemed to lose his effectiveness and the Orioles went to the bullpen in the sixth inning down three to zero. Gray pitched his tail off tonight, earning the win without his best stuff. He was able to keep the O’s off the scoreboard by effectively locating his fastball, relying on his changeup and mixing in a good curveball, which we haven’t seen. He essentially did not throw his slider tonight, which had been one of his best pitches. Gray worked his way out of a one out bases loaded jam in the fourth and a leadoff double in the fifth to earn a quality start going seven innings and giving up only one run to go along with three hits, two walks and three strikeouts.
2. Daniel Descalso: I, like many, were very skeptical of Walt Weiss’ idea to pencil Descalso into LF earlier this year. So far it has paid major dividends as Daniel continues to hit well with a .313/.419/.447 line playing everywhere for the Rockies. With runners on first and third and no outs in the fourth inning Manny Machado popped one into no mans land in shallow left center. Descalso sprinted in and made an all out diving catch to rob him of a single and the Orioles of a run. The play was made all the more important as Gray was able to pitch out of the inning with no damage, keeping the score deadlocked at zero.
3. David Dahl’s firsts: The Rockies highly touted prospect got his first start in CF today, which is his natural position and one Rockies fans’ will get used to seeing him. To celebrate the occasion, Dahl hit his first major league home run, a two out bomb to dead center field. A
players first career home run is one of the coolest moments in baseball and seeing his girlfriend in tears and his good friend Trevor Story hugging him at the end of the high-five line made this a great one.
4. Don’t run on Cargo: With one out in the seventh inning and Gray starting to show signs of fatigue Matt Wieters narrowly missed a home run bombing one off the elevated wall in right field. Since he apparently doesn’t have the right TV package, he decided to test CarGo’s arm. Gonzalez barehanded the ball while spinning and fired a no-look bullet right into Story’s glove who applied the tag. Wieters was initially called safe but after a Weiss challenge he was called out.
5. The Future is Bright: It is very hard not to be optimistic after the Rockies took a series from the American League leading Orioles, especially in Baltimore where the Orioles had lost only one series all year. Adding to the optimism was the way they won the final game. Jon Gray pitched like the teams ace, allowing one run over seven innings without his best stuff. The ball was then handed to Adam Ottavino who, with the help of Boone Logan, pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Then rookie closer Carlos “Wild Thing” Estevez came in to shut the door for his 10th save of the season.
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Oh yeah, and one of the Rockies best position prospects hit his first career home run to dead center against a pitcher that came into the inning with a perfect game. Not only should that make Rockies fans optimistic for the next couple of years but it should also bring some curiosity as to whether or not the Rockies should be buyers at this trade deadline. They are 49-52 and only 6.5 games out of the Wild Card spot. Not saying it is the best idea to go all in, but the Rockies are definitely in a much better situation than they have been at the deadline for a long time.
This weekend series against the New York Mets, one of the five teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race, will be an excellent gauge for how good the Rockies really are. The series opens at 11:10 MT tomorrow with Tyler Anderson taking on Jacob deGrom.