The Colorado Rockies rotation has been on fire, but there has been one face missing out on the fun. That would be the Rockies original “ace” Jon Gray. Gray was sent down to Triple-A in late June and the news took everyone by shock. However, it is what could be making the entire rotation better.
June 30th was the day that the Colorado Rockies broke news that Jon Gray would no longer be in the rotation. This only left Tyler Anderson, Chad Bettis, German Marquez, and Kyle Freeland in the rotation with the fifth spot vacant. This, of course, would allow Antonio Senzatela to get a shot in the rotation. So let’s look at what these guys did in their last starts since Jon Gray was sent down.
Antonio Senzatela went 7 innings strong only giving up 3 hits in a shutout win against the San Fransisco Giants. Tyler Anderson went 8 innings without giving up a run while only giving up 2 hits and striking out 9 batters and getting the win. Chad Bettis’ outing sadly got cut short due to injury, and he’s currently on the 10-day disabled list. Kyle Freeland went 7 innings only giving up 2 runs, but still took the win in the first game of their sweep of the Giants. German Marquez went 8 innings only giving up 1 run while striking out 9 in their win over the Dodgers.
The key component to pay attention to is that these pitchers are actually starting to go deep into innings.
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This is something they were struggling with during June as their average start would only last at the least 5 innings before the bullpen was being used. This in actuality is how the rotation should be working so that when they utilize the bullpen they aren’t over using them. The rotation needs to keep the workhorse mentality up, especially if they have postseason aspirations.
It wouldn’t be fair to not look back at Jon Gray’s last start before he was sent down. Gray went 4 innings against the Giants and gave up 5 earned runs even though he struck out 7 batters. His stats when he were sent down weren’t the best, with a 7-7 record with a 5.77 ERA and a few innings shy of 100. Most aces are already over the 100 inning threshold, but Gray isn’t any typical ace and maybe not even an ace at all.
The ace of the team usually sets the mood for the rest of the rotation. While Jon Gray was at the helm of it we barely saw the starters before they were being pulled by the fourth or fifth inning. Then that all changed. Now, we have guys that are actually going deep into innings and showing the coaching staff and front office alike that they can stick it out for a while.
Perhaps sending down Jon Gray was what the rotation needed. Time will tell if this was the correct move, but for now it’s really looking that way.