Led by Gray--Rockies Offense and Pitching Finally in Sync
Many things come to mind when thinking about the frustration surrounding the Colorado Rockies 2019 season. At the top of that list is the team's inability to synchronize positive performances from the pitchers and hitters. It has always seemed like one of the two groups has been hot, while the other has been floundering (primarily the pitching).
Monday, that synchronization occurred and in a resounding fashion. The Rockies knocked off the NL-West leading Los Angeles Dodgers 9-1 at Coors Field.
According to Rockies pitcher Jon Gray, the synchronization between the Rockies offense and pitchers starts with positive energy.
“We’ve been kind of one-sided all year, going back and forth and we haven’t been on the same page a lot,” Gray said. When we're feeding off each other's energy, that seems (to be) when it kicks in.”
Gray started on the mound for Colorado and was immediately aggressive. He had a shaky start to the second inning in which he walked the first two batters, but recovered nicely with three straight strikeouts.
Gray surrendered just three hits and one run during his eight innings of play. Gray recorded six strikeouts and tied his own personal mark for the second deepest he has reached in a major league game (eight innings).
“I thought he had a great mix of the fastball, the slider, and the curve, mixing a couple of changeups as well,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “That was one of the better ones for Jon.”
The last two months have seen Gray establish himself atop the Rockies rotation as the teams ace. He has been a bright spot in an otherwise poor pitching season.
“We are very proud of him,” Black said. “The in-game poise, the in-game awareness, and self-awareness of what he needs to do have stepped up this season.”
Gray showed good composure in getting out of that tough second inning situation. He credited that aspect of his game as one of his most improved areas. The Rockies will need him to continue to play at such a high level if they want to turn the season around.
Veteran closer Wade Davis took over in the ninth and got all three outs via caught fly balls or pop-ups in foul territory.
The pitching (Gray and Davis) did their job and then some, against a high powered Dodgers offense. They gave up four hits, one run and walked three batters.
The Rockies offense followed suit and was equally effective.
Colorado recorded 11 hits and scored nine runs with one home run.
Buoyed by a five-run fifth inning, the Rockies took a lead and never looked back. At the forefront was David Dahl. He hit a resounding two-run homer in the eighth inning and had three RBI batting in the leadoff position. Outfielder Ian Desmond stayed hot and fell one home run short of a cycle, and Ryan McMahon finished with two RBI.
The Rockies looked loose and like they were having fun. This was encapsulated by a relieved Nolan Arenado raising his arms above his head and giving first base coach Ronnie Gideon a big high five following his two-run single during the bottom of the fifth inning. The single marked the end of a hitting slump that has plagued Arenado in recent games.
The five-time All-Star is unequivocally the teams most important player and he has struggled at the plate. Unsurprisingly, Colorado hasn't done well during those struggles. The correlation between Arenado playing well and Rockies wins is very high. The Rockies hope Monday’s performance signifies the end of the slump.
The Rockies offense and pitcher's fed off one another's energy all game long. The performance gave Rockies fans a glimpse of the potential that the 2019 Rockies had/still have.
The Rockies sit 18.5 games back on the Dodgers and are seven games out of the Wild Card. A disastrous July has sent a once-promising season into series doubt. However, playoffs or not, Monday's victory over the Dodgers was a step in the right direction.
Desmond summed up the feeling in the clubhouse following the game.
“We've all kind of been feeling like we're all due,” Desmond said. “It's just a matter of time before we wake up and today was a good sign. We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of games left to be played... Hopefully, it's not too late.”