Colorado Rockies: Sophomore Slump for Jon Gray?
For the Colorado Rockies, Jon Gray has had an interesting sophomore season. After a terrific June and July, Gray’s performances have leveled off over his last five starts. Gray still hasn’t fallen into a sophomore slump however.
The first two innings of his starts have been giving Jon Gray fits. In his last start, by the end of the second inning he had given up six runs (five earned). He was gone by the fourth inning due to a high pitch count. The Rockies were in a hole that they couldn’t get out of.
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Gray has been a slow starter this season. The first two innings are road blocks, but once he figures out a way around those, the rest of his innings have been solid. It explains why he has nine wins on the year, but also eight losses and a relatively high ERA of 4.69, but he also has 156 strikeouts, which is 12th-best in the National League out of 34 qualified pitchers.
Prior to his start against the Padres, Gray was 1-3 with a 7.26 ERA, where he had given up 25 earned runs in 31 innings pitched over his last six starts. In the last Padres game, Gray’s pitches early were up in the strike zone and his fastball was slower at 92-94 mph. His out pitch, the slider, did not have the same bite, and he has lost the command of this pitch.
Gray told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post he needs to “get to work” to rediscover it.
“That’s my pitch and I don’t really have another one to rely on right now,” Gray said. “It really upsets me, going out there with that performance. … These last few starts I have left, I really have to put in some work.”
Gray does not need to hit the panic button. He is just in his second MLB season (his first full season) and he is continuing to learn on the job. Yes, he is struggling right now, but you don’t just lose your talent overnight. He is maintaining his confidence despite the adversity, as he told Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post.
“There might be games like I had today, or like I had a couple of weeks ago, but I don’t ever feel like I’m beat,” he said. “I know what to do to get back. As long as I’m able to make those adjustments, I’ll come back stronger.”
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Gray has hit a rough patch currently, but he is not in a sophomore slump. Two bad innings in a start don’t constitute a slump. However, the sooner he can re-discover the slider, the better. He will want to finish the season on a high, and give him confidence going into 2017.