Colorado Rockies top prospect Jon Gray didn't do much on Saturday to make his club feel great about its possible decision to start him in the second game of the regular season.
Gray allowed seven runs -- six earned -- in just two-thirds of an inning in the Rockies' 18-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs in Cactus League action. The highly touted right-hander had his own issues, but he certainly didn't get much help from his teammates. Charlie Culberson committed an error to start the bottom of the first, and after Gray struck out Matt Szczur and Kris Bryant doubled to put runners on second and third, the Cubs plated a run on a botched pickoff attempt by Colorado catcher Michael McKenry.
Things got a whole lot worse from there.
Gray walked Chris Coghlan then misplayed a bunt from Addison Russell, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead. Chicago followed with back-to-back singles before the big blow, a three-run homer off the bat of opposing pitcher Jake Arrieta.
A clearly fazed Gray struck out former Rockie Jonathan Herrera for the second out of the inning, but Walt Weiss had seen enough at that point, pulling the 23-year-old with his club down seven runs. Gray faced nine batters in the inning and gave up two singles (one on a bunt), a double, a walk and a homer.
Rockies pitchers didn't improve much after Gray's exit. Arrieta smacked another extra-base hit, this one a double off of Nelson Gonzalez, and finished with four RBI. The hit was one of five allowed by Gonzalez, leading to three runs. Rex Brothers and Scott Oberg both gave up a pair of runs, and Leuris Gomez surrendered four. The best pitching performance of the day for the Rockies came from Simon Castro, who struck out four batters while allowing a hit and a walk in 1⅔ innings.
To add injury to insult, Corey Dickerson left the game in the third inning with lower back tightness, according to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Like Carlos Gonzalez the night before, Dickerson's injury doesn't appear to be serious; he was pulled for precautionary reasons, and the back most likely became an issue due to the long innings. That makes sense; the Cubs scored seven, three and two runs in the first three frames.
After falling down 14-0, the Rockies' offense came alive a bit in the seventh inning. The club scored four runs, highlighted by Matt McBride's solo home run and RBI singles off the bats of top 10 prospects David Dahl and Dom Nunez.
What do we make of this? Perhaps not too much; Gray was certainly off, and judging by his postgame interview, feels like he missed a big opportunity. But maybe it'll serve as a good lesson in resilience. He'll get one more start to show what he's made of, and if he pitches like he has for most of the spring prior to Saturday, the Rockies still might go forward with their rumored plan.