Wednesday, October 20, 2021

John Gray enters potential final. Rockies start with a lot on the line

A start doesn’t make a season, but when Rockies right-hander John Gray takes over the mound at Chase Field on Friday night, his performance will take extra weight.

Perhaps no player on the Rockies roster has more at stake as Colorado enters its final three games of the season.

To borrow a favorite word from former Rockies manager Jim Tracy, Gray would be apt to start a strong final against Arizona and make a statement. The Rockies will be watching closely, with several teams looking to start pitching during the coming off-season.

Grey, who is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career, has had a good season, going 8-12 with a 4.28 ERA in 28 starts. He scored 150 runs while scoring 58 runs.

But the right-hander is stuck in a slump as his contract year is about to end. He has not played more than five innings since August 4, leading 1-5 with 6.23 ERA in his last eight starts.

“To me it looks like (I’m not) coming in at a good pace and making the pitch,” Gray said last Saturday night after conceding four runs on five hits, including two home runs in 4 2/3 innings. Including Colorado’s 7-2 loss to San Francisco at Coors Field.

“I think the games kind of dragged on,” Gray continued. “It’s been a lot of moves, so I need to finish them. It’s just (about) being more on the plate, motivating people to play the ball more. Just keeping the ball in their court, Attacking, that’s all it’s missing.”

Gray has repeatedly stated that he would like to sign a new contract with the Rockies and remain with the team that picked him in the 2013 draft with a third overall pick. The Rockies have said they are ready to keep him, although serious talks have yet to begin.

“Like we always say, it takes two to tango, but we wish John was here,” Bill Schmidt, interim general manager of the Rockies, said in August. “We are optimistic that we will be able to work something out with John. That is one reason why we did not trade him (on the July 30 deadline), even though we had offers.

“John on record is saying he wants to be here. If it’s possible, we’d like to have John here at the end of this season.”

When Schmidt said that, however, Gray was pitching relatively well. It hasn’t happened until recently as Gray has failed to pitch deep in games.

“I think the simple answer, as far as not moving from sixth, is that there are some mistakes he has to pay for, where we had to (delete him) based on the score,” Manager Bud Black said of Grey’s subpar eight-start stretch. “More elaborate, perhaps in several at-bats, through those eight starts where he’s led, and he hasn’t been able to consistently take people away. And those also counts where maybe he’s left behind. , they’ve got a hit.

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“If you look at every start, there are probably points in the game where a bat or a pitch that has been critical has gone against it.”

Gray with a solid but certainly not illustrious career could be her final start in Rockies uniform. In 151 games (150 starts), he is 53–49 with a 4.54 ERA, averaging 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings versus 3.1 per nine walks. He made his 2017 wild-card game debut in Arizona, but was dismissed early and was dropped from the 2018 playoff roster.

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