Absolutely nothing has come easy for the Colorado Rockies since embarking on this road trip to the NL Central. Having been walked off on three times in five games, they looked primed to suffer the fate again. Blowing yet another save, the club was bailed out by the King of Clutch, Nolan Arenado, who launched his 29th home run of the season in the top of the 11th, the decisive blow in a 5-4 win for Colorado over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Other than salvaging a game in the series and on the trip, Arenado’s blast and newcomer Seunghwan Oh’s guts in the bottom of the 11th meant that their starting pitcher’s brilliant effort would not go unrewarded.
Jon Gray has been through a lot this season. In fact, reaching back to last year’s Wild Card game, Gray has had difficulty finding a rhythm and his confidence.
But after a remarkably brief two-game stint in Triple-A to help him clear his mind and clean his mechanics, The Wolf Of Blake Street has been simply dominant.
It didn’t look like the game would go his way early, but ultimately he strung together arguably his most impressive start of the season considering the circumstances and competition. Pitching eight innings (99 pitches) of one-run baseball in which he got stronger as the game went on, he pitched efficiently and effectively, striking out eight and walking two, surrendering just one.
It is his fourth consecutive outing going at least seven innings and the fifth time in his last six starts. Since returning, he has 1.51 ERA and has struck out 25 and walked just seven over 29.2 innings of work.
Gray did not start out sharp, leaving pitches up in the zone in the first few innings. In the very first at-bat, he hung a breaking ball to the hottest hitter in baseball, Christian Yelich, but was saved by a tremendous leaping catch in left-center by Ian Desmond, possibly taking away a home run.
It was impressive on its own but even more so when you consider he has mostly played first base this season and hadn’t played in the outfield in over a month.