Colorado Rockies morning after: Jon Gray finishes his Spring strong

On Saturday, the Colorado Rockies faced the Chicago Cubs and the Rockies lost by a score of 3-0 but Jon Gray did very well in his final, albeit abbreviated, tuneup.

Rockies manager Bud Black has not yet named an Opening Day starter for Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field but will almost certainly be Jon Gray. This would be no surprise and, if Black was looking for a strong outing to prove that Gray was deserving of the start, he got it on Saturday.

Gray only had an abbreviated start (three innings) but he faced the minimum amount of batters. He allowed one hit and struck out two on 28 pitches before being relieved by Jake McGee.

Gray finished the spring with a 5.82 ERA (which is not great). However, he finished the Cactus League slate with 9 1/3 scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers and the Cubs. Both the Rangers and Cubs primarily fielded their regulars in each game as well.

Here’s what Gray had to say about his outing:

“I just pretended like I was going seven, eight, nine innings and kept that mindset, and we threw some more pitches in the bullpen and stretched it out,” said Gray. “I’m feeling better every day. I really feel good about my during-the-week work, those four days in between. I’m getting a lot out of it right now.” (h/t Thomas Harding of MLB.com)

Bud Black said that Gray, “showed good life on the fastball, threw some good sliders, a couple good sliders down below the zone, too. The delivery looked good, arm action was fine. Jon’s in a good spot” (h/t Harding).

The one hit that Gray allowed was a single to Kris Bryant. However, he picked Bryant off of first.

“It’s definitely something I want to look to improve,” Gray said of controlling baserunners. “It’s pretty aggravating when a guy does take second base on you and he’s in scoring position and you’re out of the double play.” (h/t Harding)

Who will be his catcher?

In five of Gray’s six Cactus League starts, Tony Wolters caught Gray, including his final two starts. However, Chris Iannetta will be the catcher for Gray on Opening Day.

This is, partially, due to the D’Backs starting left-hander Patrick Corbin due to Zack Greinke being out with a strained groin.

Even though Iannetta will catch Gray on Opening Day, it sounds like Gray wants to work with Wolters the majority of the time.

“Me and Tony are really close,” Gray said. “He knows what I’m thinking a lot of times. I know what he’s thinking a lot of times. He’s a guy that likes to get creative, too. When I shake and I want something else, he knows exactly what to go to. I feel like he’s right there with me — same page.” (h/t Harding)

Final Thoughts

At 2 PM MT, the Rockies will take on the D’Backs at Salt River Field at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. Yency Almonte will make the start for the Rockies against minor leaguer Taylor Clarke. The game will be broadcast both on AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain and KOA 850 and the Rockies Radio Network.

Tyler Anderson‘s turn in the rotation was for today but he (and Rockies closer Wade Davis) will get their work in on the back fields (h/t Harding). Anderson will probably start on Friday, in the second game of the season against the D’Backs.