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DENVER — Wolves are famous for howling at the moon, for being the closest relative to man’s best friend … and for defending their home territory.
Colorado Rockies rookie pitcher and emerging ace Jon Gray has long gone by the moniker, The Gray Wolf. It is his Twitter handle and a nickname whose origins we will have to report on at another time because this is the origin story of something new.
Gray has nine quality starts in his last 11 attempts, sporting a 2.93 ERA in that timeframe while striking out 72 (!) and walking 23.
And as Gray was putting the finishing touches on his fifth consecutive stellar game — a seven-inning-one-run outing featuring eight strikeouts on Friday night — BSN Denver decided to crowdsource a new nickname for a new era in his career. And our readers did not disappoint. There were a number of fun new hashtags that we intend to use and share moving forward but reader Luke Noble, who is @lnoble30 on Twitter, wrote a tweet that may forever change the course of history.
It read simply: “Wolf of Blake Street”
Gray recently spoke to Jake Shapiro about the keys to his success at Coors Field, a place he says he has always wanted to “master” … and I recently talked to him about PokemonGO (and pitching deeper into games.)
Both conversations explicitly detail Gray’s journey starting all the way from rookie ball in Grand Junction to the narrative that Coors Field was “in his head” to his current domination, evidenced yet again on Friday evening.
“I was proud after giving up that run in the first inning to be able to go out there and pitch seven innings and give our guys a chance to win,” Gray said after his sixth victory of 2016. “Confidence is building. I’m looking to even build it more. To be able to go out there and keep doing something that you know you can. It feels good.”
In his last six starts at Coors Field, Gray has given up only 12 combined runs, which for Coors is borderline miraculous. The park on Blake Street has become a comfortable home for The Gray Wolf, who roams the hill in the middle of a great meadow … seeking prey.
In our podcast, he chalked most of it up to his mentality, and at least one of his teammates — who showed a little something about his mentality on Friday night as well — agrees. “Every time that Jon goes out there, he gives everything on the mound,” says Carlos Estevez. “He’s always fighting out there.”
Fighting. Howling. Protecting his home turf. The Wolf of Blake Street.