Colorado Rockies: 3 Things We Learned in the San Diego Sweep
With Sunday’s 6-3 decision over the San Diego Padres, the Colorado Rockies posted their fifth series sweep of the season. It was also their first series win over a sub-.500 team since they swept the Atlanta Braves just after the All-Star break.
Here are three things we learned in the three-game sweep of the Padres.
Jon Gray can be the ace
Trevor Irvine recently wrote about Gray’s sophomore slump, but the right-hander was absolutely dominant in Saturday’s complete-game 8-0 decision.
What was the key? Gray’s slider was working. It’s been his most dominant pitch of the season … when it has worked. Some of Gray’s biggest issues this season has come when his slider wasn’t dropping off the plate like it could. That wasn’t an issue on Saturday, as 12 of Gray’s franchise-record 16 strikeouts came via the slider.
“It was pretty special and you could see he had his good slider from the get-go,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. “At times over the last few starts, the pitch has been a bit flat. But when he’s getting depth with it, it’s pretty much lights out.”
Gray’s blanking of the Padres was Colorado’s third shutout at Coors Field this season and the second complete-game shutout by a Rockies starting pitcher in September. The other was spun by Chad Bettis on September 5 against San Francisco.
How rare was Gray’s effort? It was just the 15th complete-game shutout in Coors Field history.
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The Rockies really can beat teams with worse records
One of the problems all season has been Colorado’s inability to beat teams with a lower winning percentage than they have. Sweeps in Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Arizona destroyed the Rockies’ chances at a Wild Card berth.
Colorado also won the series in a number of ways. Ninth-inning clutch hitting saved the night on Friday. A dominant pitching performance was the key on Saturday. On Sunday, a big inning at the plate propelled the Rockies to victory.
Gray isn’t going to have a dominant outing every night. No Colorado pitcher is. However, the Rockies showing that they can find different ways to win (long ball, good pitching, timely hitting, etc.) is a promising sign as the 2016 season winds down.
DJ just keeps spinning
Death. Taxes. DJ LeMahieu getting on base. There are just things in life you can count on.
In Sunday’s win, LeMahieu extended his career-high on-base streak to 34 games. The streak started on August 9. That’s the longest on-base streak for the Rockies this season.
He also continues to make his mark on Colorado second basemen rankings. He’s just the second Rockies second basemen to have 100 or more hits in a season (joining Eric Young’s 127 in 1996). He’s also just the fifth Colorado second baseman to have 10 or more homers in a season (along with Clint Barmes (22) in 2009, Jose Ortiz (13) in 2001, Mike Lansing (12 in 1998 and 11 in 2000) and Todd Walker (12) in 2001).
Where does DJ rank among Colorado’s all-time best second basemen? Check out our exclusive rankings.
Next: The Top 5 Left Fielders in Colorado History
There was plenty for Colorado fans to cheer about over the weekend at Coors Field. Here’s hoping those same good feelings continue when the St. Louis Cardinals pay their only visit to LoDo this season during a three-game matchup beginning tonight.