Rockies See a Brighter Shade of Gray

Jon Gray has put together back-to-back quality starts, adding the exclamation point on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. The wind may have been blowing out to left field at up to 25 miles per hour, but it didn't seem to affect Gray, at least not after Anthony Rizzo went opposite field and hit Gray's first pitch of the game into the left field bleachers.

Gray responded by recording nine consecutive outs, and retiring 21 of the final 24 batters he faced in claiming back-to-back victories for the first time this season. He has allowed one run in 13 innings his last two starts. 

"I built off my last outing," said Gray. "The win was really blowing out. The first pitch (I threw) went out. I had to be unpredictable. I had to mix my pitches and move the ball around."

Gray Day-By-Day in 2018

Date Opponent W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
3/29/2018 @Ari L 8-2 0 1 6.75 1 4 6 3 3 0 3 4
4/4/2018 @SD W 5-2 1 0 2.45 1 7 4 0 0 0 0 7
4/9/2018 SD L 7-6 0 1 5.63 1 5 10 7 7 2 1 6
4/14/2018 @Was L 6-2 0 1 6.23 1 5.2 8 5 5 1 1 6
4/20/2018 ChC L 16-5 0 1 7.09 1 5 8 7 6 1 3 1
4/25/2018 SD W 5-2 1 0 5.79 1 6 3 0 0 0 1 11
5/1/2018 @ChC W 3-1 1 0 4.99 1 7 3 1 1 1 1 6

It's more like what the Rockies and Gray were expecting from the right-hander, who has made back-to-back Opening Day starts.

"His last two starts Jon has pitched with a lot of confidence," said manager Bud Black. "These are steps Jon is taking to become the guy we talk about."

Most of all, Gray wasn't intimidated by the strong wind, not after seeing Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl open the game for the Rockies with back-to-back home runs, and then Rizzo do the same in the bottom of the first for the Cubs -- all three left-handed hitters that went the other way.

"After the Rizzo home run, I thought, `Oh, it's going to be a lot of scoring,'" said Dahl. "Jon did a good job of shutting them down. 

Dahl grew up a baseball junkie. He knew about Wrigley Field, from watching on television and in person.

"I actually went to a game (at Wrigley Field) when I was 14," he said. "I watched a lot of people hitting bombs. I thought maybe some day I can do that."

Think about it. There have been 118 games at Wrigley Field in which one team hit five or more home runs.

Team Date Opp HR AVG OBP SLG
Atlanta Braves 5/28/2006 ChC 8 0.353 0.4 0.882
Detroit Tigers 6/18/2006 ChC 8 0.333 0.381 0.974
Atlanta Braves 8/3/1967 ChC 7 0.308 0.372 0.872
Chicago Cubs 6/11/1967 NYM 7 0.442 0.457 1.047
Chicago Cubs 8/19/1970 SD 7 0.389 0.421 0.972
Chicago Cubs 5/17/1977 SD 7 0.48 0.536 0.98
Cincinnati Reds 7/10/2008 ChC 7 0.409 0.438 0.909
Cincinnati Reds 7/4/2010 ChC 7 0.372 0.413 0.93
Houston Astros 9/9/2000 ChC 7 0.422 0.458 0.978
Los Angeles Dodgers 5/5/1976 ChC 7 0.372 0.404 0.93
St. Louis Cardinals 7/12/1996 ChC 7 0.419 0.457 0.953
Most home runs by a team single game Wrigley Field

Gray provided the first seven innings of what was the seventh time in the first 31 games of the season that the Rockies have scored three or fewer runs in a game,and celebrated a victory. It was the first time they did it in a start by Gray. 

Chad Bettis has started and won two of the games. Tyler Anderson also has started two, but is 1-0, having to come out in the second inning of a game in Miami last Friday because of breathing problems.

7 Games In which Rockies Scored 3 or Fewer Runs and Won

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt Starting Pitcher IP H R ER SO BB WP
1 5/1/2018 COL CHC W 3-1 Jon Gray 7 3 1 1 1 6 Gray
2 4/27/2018 COL MIA W 1-0 Tyler Anderson 1.1 1 0 0 1 1 Senzatela
3 4/17/2018 COL PIT W 2-0 Chad Bettis 7.2 5 0 0 2 3 Bettis
4 4/13/2018 COL WSN W 2-1 Kyle Freeland 4.2 4 1 1 3 4 Oberg
5 4/7/2018 COL ATL W 3-2 Chad Bettis 5.2 4 1 1 2 3 Bettis
6 4/5/2018 COL SDP W 3-1 Tyler Anderson 6 4 0 0 0 4 Ottavino
7 3/31/2018 COL ARI W 2-1 German Marquez 5 4 1 0 4 4 Shaw
Source: Baseball-reference.com

The Rockies had six such games in April, the most in franchise history. The seven in 31 games represents more wins in games scoring three or fewer runs than the Rockies had in six of their previous 25 seasons total.

Over 25-plus seasons the Rockies have won 235 games in which they scored three or fewer runs.

Rockies Games Won 3 or Fewer Runs by Year, Month, Home and Road

Year Games April May June July Aug Sept. Home Road
2018 7 6 1 TBD TBD TBD TBD 1 6
2017 12 5 2 1 0 4 0 4 8
2016 10 1 3 2 2 0 2 1 9
2015 7 2 0 1 1 1 2 4 3
2014 12 5 2 0 1 2 2 5 7
2013 12 2 2 1 3 2 2 5 7
2012 10 1 0 1 1 6 1 2 8
2011 15 3 1 4 5 1 1 5 10
2010 14 1 3 5 1 3 1 6 8
2009 11 1 4 3 1 0 2 5 6
2008 15 5 1 4 0 1 4 6 9
2007 10 0 3 2 1 1 3 2 8
2006 13 5 2 2 2 2 0 7 6
2005 10 0 2 2 3 3 0 4 6
2004 7 0 2 2 1 1 1 2 5
2003 3 2 0 1 0 0 0 2 1
2002 9 0 1 1 1 4 2 2 7
2001 4 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 3
2000 6 0 1 1 2 2 0 1 5
1999 6 0 1 1 0 4 0 1 5
1998 11 0 3 2 0 3 3 4 7
1997 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3
1996 3 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 3
1995 7 2 0 3 1 0 1 0 7
1994 7 0 4 1 1 1 0 2 5
1993 11 0 3 2 2 3 1 3 8
235 42 42 43 32 45 31 75 160

Any discussion of the Rockies winning games scoring three or fewer runs cannot ignore the night of April 17, 2008, that ran into the morning of April 18 in San Diego when they Rockies and Padres went 22 innings en route to the Rockies pulling out a 2-1 victory.

The Rockies finally won 2-1, with Troy Tulowitzki's two-out RBI double bringing in Willy Taveras with an unearned run in nearly empty Petco Park. A game that lasted 6 hours, 16 minutes was decided by an unearned run.

Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy threw the game's first pitch at 7:05 p.m. The game didn't end until 1:21 a.m., when Padres pitcher Glendon Rusch took a called third strike. Colorado's Yorvit Torrealba, who caught all 22 innings, wearily pumped a fist in celebration.

''It's tough to keep your head into it and put together good at-bats and be into every pitch,'' Tulowitzki said. ''We were talking about how our legs were hurting out there. It's tough to stand on your feet for 22 innings and keep moving.''

Manager Clint Hurdle noticed that his players were a little tight.

''This was a good game to get outside yourself,'' Hurdle said. ''About the 16th inning, I said, 'Hey boys, no matter what's in front of us, there's a world of people out there who've got harder rows to hoe than we do. No matter what happens the rest of the night, have some fun with this thing.' ''

The game was actually scoreless until both teams scored in the 14th when Brad Hawpe drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the Rockies run in the top of the inning, and Josh Bard, who crew up in the Denver area and was originally drafted and signed by the Rockies, singled in a run in the bottom of the 14th.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 R H E
Colorado Rockies 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 14 1
San Diego Padres 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 11 2
Rockies AB R H RBI TB BB K AVG OBP SLG
Willy Taveras, CF 10 2 3 0 3 0 3 0.259 0.322 0.296
Troy Tulowitzki, SS 8 0 2 1 3 1 2 0.167 0.254 0.233
Todd Helton, 1B 9 0 1 0 1 1 0 0.242 0.347 0.419
Matt Holliday, LF 6 0 3 0 3 3 1 0.333 0.429 0.567
Garrett Atkins, 3B 6 0 1 0 1 0 3 0.306 0.323 0.403
Manuel Corpas, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - -
Chris Iannetta, PH 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0.438 0.471 0.563
Ryan Speier, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Kip Wells, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Brad Hawpe, RF 7 0 0 1 0 2 4 0.188 0.361 0.313
Clint Barmes, 2B-3B 9 0 2 0 3 0 1 0.4 0.423 0.68
Yorvit Torrealba, C 7 0 1 0 1 0 1 0.214 0.25 0.333
Jeff Francis, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.167 0.167 0.167
Scott Podsednik, PH 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.25 0.4 0.25
Brian Fuentes, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - -
Taylor Buchholz, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - -
Ryan Spilborghs, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.261 0.32 0.522
Micah Bowie, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - -
Jeff Baker, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.077 0.077 0.154
Matt Herges, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jayson Nix, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.143 0.268 0.171
Totals 73 2 14 2 16 8 20 - - -
Padres AB R H RBI TB BB K AVG OBP SLG
Brian Giles, RF 9 0 1 0 1 0 0 0.298 0.354 0.439
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B 7 0 0 0 0 2 1 0.235 0.288 0.279
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B 9 1 2 0 2 0 3 0.3 0.324 0.386
Tony Clark, 1B 8 0 1 0 1 1 4 0.25 0.368 0.25
Scott Hairston, CF 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.214 0.297 0.411
Jim Edmonds, PH-CF 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.233 0.283 0.279
Khalil Greene, SS 7 0 2 0 2 1 1 0.238 0.282 0.302
Josh Bard, C 9 0 2 1 2 0 0 0.292 0.382 0.333
Justin Huber, LF 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.286 0.286 0.286
Paul McAnulty, PH-LF 5 0 1 0 2 1 1 0.222 0.313 0.259
Jake Peavy, P 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 0.222 0.273 0.222
Callix Crabbe, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.167 0.286 0.167
Trevor Hoffman, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - -
Heath Bell, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - -
Adrian Gonzalez, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.274 0.328 0.419
Joe Thatcher, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - -
Randy Wolf, PH 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0.286 0.286 0.286
Kevin Cameron, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Colt Morton, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wilfredo Ledezma, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Glendon Rusch, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Totals 74 1 11 1 12 5 17 - - -
Colorado Rockies IP H R ER BB K HR BFP Pit B-S ERA OpBA
Jeff Francis 7 3 0 0 1 7 0 25 111 41 - 70 5.89 0.297
Brian Fuentes 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 17 6-11 0 0.111
Taylor Buchholz 2 1 0 0 0 3 0 7 23 7-16 1 0.156
Micah Bowie 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 8 31 14 - 17 6 0.273
Matt Herges 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 13 4-9 2.79 0.222
Manuel Corpas (BS 2) 2 2 1 1 2 1 0 10 33 14 - 19 5 0.25
Ryan Speier 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 11 40 13 - 27 1.17 0.214
Kip Wells (W 1-0) 4 1 0 0 1 3 0 13 53 22 - 31 1.84 0.2
San Diego Padres IP H R ER BB K HR BFP Pit B-S ERA OpBA
Jake Peavy 8 4 0 0 3 11 0 29 113 43 - 70 1.2 0.18
Trevor Hoffman 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 11 4-7 8.1 0.286
Heath Bell 2 1 0 0 0 2 0 6 29 8-21 0.84 0.205
Joe Thatcher 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 7 25 6-12 6.75 0.267
Kevin Cameron 1 1 1 1 3 0 0 7 27 15 - 12 3 0.2
Wilfredo Ledezma 5 3 0 0 2 3 0 19 80 30 - 50 2 0.219
Glendon Rusch (L 0-1) 3 3 1 0 0 1 0 13 53 19 - 34 8.1 0.375
2B - Col 2: T. Tulowitzki (4), C. Barmes (2). SD 1: P. McAnulty (1).
RBI - Col 2: T. Tulowitzki (3), B. Hawpe (5). SD 1: J. Bard (3).
Errors - Col: G. Atkins (3). SD: J. Bard (2), K. Greene (1).
Double Plays - Col (Tulowitzki to Nix to Helton; Barmes to Nix to Helton). SD (Greene to Iguchi to T.Clark; Iguchi to Greene to T.Clark; Kouzmanoff to Iguchi to T.Clark; Greene to Iguchi to T.Clark).
Left On Base - Col 16; SD 14.
Scoring Position - Col 1 for 13; SD 1 for 6.
Sacrifice Hits - Col: T. Tulowitzki, Y. Torrealba 2. SD: J. Edmonds.
GIDP - Col: T. Tulowitzki, M. Holliday, G. Atkins, C. Barmes. SD: J. Edmonds, J. Bard.
Stolen Bases - Col: W. Taveras (5), M. Holliday 2 (4).
Caught Stealing - Col: W. Taveras (1).
Hit by Pitch - SD: K. Greene by K. Wells.
Intentional Walks - Col: T. Helton by K. Cameron. SD: K. Greene by M. Corpas.
Umpires - HP--Alfonso Marquez, 1B--Andy Fletcher, 2B--Mike Reilly, 3B--Bob Davidson.
Time - 6:16
Attendance - 25,984
Weather - 73 degrees, Mildly Cloudy. Wind: 13 MPH Left to Right.