Jon Gray’s 2018 debut ends in disappointment for the Colorado Rockies
By Jake Shapiro
For the second straight year, the Colorado Rockies started Jon Gray on Opening Day. For the second straight year, Gray did not make it out of the fifth inning.
Like last year in Milwaukee, Jon Gray had some good moments in the outing but unlike last year in Milwaukee, Gray never flashed any brilliance.
In his first outing back at Chase Field since getting shelled in the 2017 National League Wild Card game, Gray went four-plus innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks. It should have been worse too. Gray was chased and gave way to Chris Rusin, who entered with bases loaded and nobody gone. Rusin worked cleanly out of the jam.
It was bad right from the get as Gray allowed the Diamondbacks to plate their third run on the same play the Rockies recorded their first out of the contest.
The 26-year-old right-hander calmed down and retired nine in a row at one point. Switching to the stretch seemed to keep Gray’s mechanics in check for a smooth stretch.
Then, in the fifth inning, the top of the Snakes order came up and Gray was once again bit by a team in their third time through the order. That may have been the biggest knock on Gray throughout the course of 2017.
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Overall, it was not the start anyone expected out of Gray or was hoping to see.
Rockies manager Bud Black was confident pregame that Gray would conquer his desert demons. Both in voice and action. That did not happen, by any stretch.
Clearly, there were some communication issues between new Rockies backstop Chris Iannetta. The pitch sequencing didn’t make too much sense at times either.
Yet, in the blame can come back to Gray. In the first inning, Gray had the jitters he was leaving most breaking balls up and had a hard time putting a downward plane on his fastball. He settled down for he second, third and fourth innings but the same issue popped back up in the fifth.
Maybe working with Tony Wolters will help Gray next time around or maybe it’s just as simple as Gray has ghost named Chase Field haunting him.
Gray left the game with the Rockies down 3-1. Fortunately for Colorado, he did not cost his club further. However, this is the season where Gray is supposed to make the next jump to consistently elite and the expectations are for him to be an ace.
Next: The key to the opening series of 2018
All of that is still possible. Opening Day, it just wasn’t a good start.