David Zalubowski AP Photo
Jon Gray had what is the best performance by a Rockies pitcher EVER at Coors Field and is among the top performances of the year. Gray absolutely dominated the Padres lineup tallying 16 Ks and allowing only four hits over his complete game shutout performance. The 16 strikeouts are the most for a Rockies pitcher and his 102 game score is the tops in the game this year.
The Rockies easily took this one by a score of 8-0 as their rookies were on point in this game. Besides Jon Gray’s stellar performance, a couple of rookies had great days at the plate. David Dahl has proven himself to be a threat with the bat in his short time with the big league club and he had two more hits on Saturday to raise his average to .316.
But the offensive performance of the night came from rookie catcher Tom Murphy. Murphy got the Rockies into a comfortable position early following up Arenado’s two run homer with a two run shot of his own to give the Rockies a 4-0 lead in the first.
Murphy would not be done as in the fifth, he took a ball deep to center field that really showed how much power he has. He got his hands inside the ball and managed to get it out to right-center field over the new raised fence. That home run would score three runs and give Murph five RBIs on the night and his first career two home run game.
Murphy was not only the offensive performer of the night, but he deserves some credit for calling the game behind the plate for Gray. Obviously Gray had everything working last night and a catcher can only do so much for a pitcher, but Murphy called a great game and gave Jon Gray the chance to do what he did. He also made one mistake that gave Gray some more history. He dropped a third strike in what would eventually be a four strikeout inning for Jon. It was a small mistake and only mattered because it gave Gray another chance to tally another strikeout in the inning.
David Zalubowski AP Photo
Clearly Jon Gray is the story of the night and not enough can be said for how well he pitched. His last outing was against the Padres and it was not a good one, so coming out, at home, against the same Padres team that beat him a week ago is a big statement. Gray has also been struggling in the last month or so, so coming out and silencing the doubters with this late season performance means a lot for Gray’s development as a young pitcher. He now leads all rookies in strike outs and is 20th in the league with 172. He won’t make the 200 count this year, but Gray has been spectacular excluding a few rough outings and he is certainly the staff leader.
The Rockies will go for a sweep on Sunday with Chad Bettis on the mound. Bettis is ending his season strong and will try and keep that going with a likely demoralized Padres team. Following up Gray’s performance will be no easy task, but going out and doing his job of getting a quality start is all Bettis should be thinking about Sunday afternoon.