Jon Gray put on a good show against the Padres. He started off pretty weak, allowing a pair of hits and a fly in just seven opening pitches, but he settled down and got his game together. He went on to pitch five innings, or 69 pitches, and he only gave up a single run and four hits. He had more strikeouts than hits (5), and he never walked anyone. It was a very solid start, an impressive showing.
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Then the bullpen took over, the Colorado Rockies got pummeled, and they lost the game 7-5. The Rockies have been really sticking to the pitch count for Gray, which is why he came out after 69 pitches, or they probably would have left him in there. The bullpen clearly didn’t have what it took to back him up.
For fans, it was frustrating. It was the sixth loss in a row, and the second at home. It means they lose this series, after having dropped all four to the Mets.
Mostly, though, it was frustrating because it felt like they should have won. A young pitcher came out and got them in a great position, but then they couldn’t finish. That’s hard to swallow because it means even great pitching on the top end isn’t enough. They just don’t have the talent all the way down the line to hang on and get victories.
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For the Rockies, everything has to be about the future. The team just isn’t competing this year, and it wont. Jon Gray, though, looks like he could turn into one of the better pitchers in the game. They have to stay focused on that and work to build around him, even if that means dropping games now.
That’s exactly what they did against the Padres. They could have left him in and had a chance to win the game, but they believe in the pitch counts. They don’t want to make him do too much, too soon. They know that it’s best for his development and the future of the team if they pull him out on schedule. Win or lose.
What good is one regular season win if it takes away from what Gray can do in the years to come? It’s not like they’re in a race to win the division or make the playoffs. Sure, they try to win every night, but, at this point, helping Gray get better is the most important win they can get, even when dropping games. If there’s a bright side here, he’s it.