The Shades of Jon Gray, From Celebration to Frustration

If you remember children's rhymes, think of Rockies right-hander Jon Gray as the litle girl with the curl. When he's good, he's REALLY good. And when he's bad, he's REALLY bad.

The challenge for Gray and the Rockies is to get the good Gray to show up a little more often than he has this year. To say Gray has had a season on inconsistency would be an understatment.

And he knows it.

 That was apparent in the Rockies 7-4 loss to the Giants on Wednesday, just five days after a game that was seemingly a turning point for Gray. Just last Friday he stumbled early against the Reds, but regrouped, retiring 11 of the final 14 batters he faced in working the first six innings of a 6-4 win against the Reds.

Then came Wednesday.

"Absolutely horrible," Gray said after the game. "I was in a bad mind selt. I felt my stuff was good enough to win. I wasn't going at guys like I should have. I picked around corners and got behind too much.

"I have to be more aggressive, early on, before guys get on base."

He was talking about Wednesday, but he could have been talking about other nights, too. 

GRAY IN 7 STARTS THE ROCKIES LOST

Date Opponent W L IP H R 1.5 HR BB SO #Pit
3/29/2018 @Ari L 8-2 0 1 4 6 3 3 0 3 4 86
4/9/2018 SD L 7-6 0 1 5 10 7 7 2 1 6 83
4/14/2018 @Was L 6-2 0 1 5.2 8 5 5 1 1 6 94
4/20/2018 ChC L 16-5 0 1 5 8 7 6 1 3 1 82
5/13/2018 Mil L 7-3 0 1 5.1 10 6 6 1 1 10 101
5/19/2018 @SF L 9-4 0 1 3.2 9 5 5 0 1 4 78
5/30/2018 SF L 7-4 0 0 3.1 6 4 4 0 3 5 91
ERA 10.80 0 7 30 57 37 36 5 13 36 615
Per 9 IP 17.1 11.1 10.8 1.5 3.9 10.8 184.5

Source: Stats, Inc.

When Gray is following his game plan, however, he has dominated. The problem is other than that start last Friday against the Reds he hasn't shown that ability to make the in-game adjustments. The feeling was after the game against the Reds, Gray could be turning the corner.

 GRAY IN SIX STARTS THE ROCKIES WON

Date Opponent W L IP H R ER HR BB SO #Pit
4/4/2018 @SD W 5-2 1 0 7 4 0 0 0 0 7 93
4/25/2018 SD W 5-2 1 0 6 3 0 0 0 1 11 101
5/1/2018 @ChC W 3-1 1 0 7 3 1 1 1 1 6 96
5/8/2018 LAA W 4-2 1 0 7 4 0 0 0 1 8 99
5/25/2018 Cin W 5-4 1 0 6 6 4 4 1 3 8 100
ERA 1.36 5 0 33 20 5 5 2 6 40 489
per 9 IP 5.45 1.4 1.4 0.55 1.6 10.9 133.4

Source: Stats, Inc.

It's not like teams can stack lineups and get an edge on Gray. There is little difference between his success against left-handed and right-handed hitters.

LEFT/RIGHT SPLITS AGAINST GRAY

General BFP AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB HBP SO GIDP AVG OBP SLG OPS
vs. Left 143 132 38 6 4 5 21 9 0 0 39 2 0.288 0.333 0.508 0.841
vs. Right 147 135 39 9 0 2 14 10 1 2 37 0 0.289 0.347 0.4 0.74
133.4

Source: Stats, Inc.

And contrary to the latest fad, it is not like Gray has first-inning problems. His inning-by-inning breakdown shows that he can struggle at any point in the game or he can dominate at any point.

GRAY BY INNING

By Inning G IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA AVG OBP SLG OPS
In 1st inning 12 12 16 8 8 2 2 19 6 0.308 0.345 0.5 0.845
In 2nd inning 12 12 15 7 7 0 2 11 5.25 0.306 0.333 0.347 0.68
In 3rd inning 12 12 11 7 7 2 4 13 5.25 0.239 0.3 0.413 0.713
In 4th inning 12 11 13 9 9 3 8 9 7.36 0.289 0.396 0.622 1.018
In 5th inning 10 9 8 3 2 0 3 11 2 0.222 0.282 0.333 0.615
In 6th inning 8 6 11 8 8 0 0 9 12 0.407 0.429 0.519 0.947
In 7th inning 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 4 0 0.25 0.25 0.417 0.667

Source: Stats, Inc.

And the analytics folks can put to rest the Coors Field factor. When Gray his pitching like Gray is capable of, it doesn't matter where. In the middle of the first two months of this season, it should be noted, he ran off three consecutive wins, and two of his dominating efforts were in Coors Field.

A THREE-PART DISECTION OF GRAY'S SEASON

Date Opponent W L ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG P/IP
1st 5 GS 3 Road 2 Home 1 4 7.09 26.2 36 22 21 4 8 24 0.31 16.4
Mid 3 GS 1 Road 2 Home 3 0 0.45 20 10 1 1 1 3 25 0.143 14.8
Last 4 1 Road 3 Home 1 2 9.34 18.2 31 19 19 2 8 27 0.356 19.9
Source: Stats, Inc.