Rockies top pitching prospect Jon Gray on Tuesday might have eliminated any doubt about whether he should be called up to the big leagues.
Gray turned in perhaps his best performance of the season -- in terms of dominating hitters, at least -- in Albuquerque against El Paso, striking out eight batters and issuing only a walk while allowing two runs on three hits in six innings. The Isotopes eventually won, 3-2.
Gray threw 59 of 96 pitches for strikes and recorded nine ground-ball outs compared to just one fly out. The 23-year-old right-hander outdueled highly touted Padres prospect Robbie Erlin, who allowed four hits and three walks in six slightly less efficient innings.
With his most recent strong performance, Gray lowered his ERA to 2.72 in 56⅓ innings spanning nine starts since May 1. Gray's strikeout rate -- just 6.4 per nine innings this season -- remains a little bit of a concern, but it has come along with an improved walk rate and much better efficiency since a tumultuous first month of 2015.
In other positive news from this game as it relates to the big league club, Rex Brothers pitched another clean, dominant inning, striking out two batters in a flawless eighth. Brothers has allowed a grand total of one earned run in 10⅓ innings spanning 11 outings since May 15. He's struck out 14 batters and walked six during that time.
Ken Roberts, who is currently occupying the major league 15-day disabled list, allowed a single and struck out a batter in a scoreless seventh.
Tim Wheeler, Matt McBride and Drew Stubbs led the offense with two hits apiece. One of Stubbs' hits was a tie-breaking single that plated Wheeler in the bottom of the eighth.
High-A Modesto: W 4-3
The Nuts beat the Giants' Cal League affiliate in a rather San Francisco Giants manner: an error, a sacrfice bunt, an intentional walk and another error.
Konner Wade allowed two solo homers in an otherwise strong seven innings of work in which he gave up six hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out two. Ryan McMahon and Correlle Prime had two hits apiece. Raimel Tapia finished 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.
Low-A Asheville: L 6-2
Helmis Rodriguez showed well in six innings of work, limiting Savannah to two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk. He struck out six. However, the Tourists' bullpen and defense didn't do him any favors, letting the Sand Gnats score a total of five runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Josh Fuentes and Drew Weeks each had two hits to lead Asheville's offense. The tpp prospect on the Tourists, Forrest Wall, went 0-for-4 to drop his average to .254. After hitting .295/.394/.525 in April, Wall has really struggled, barely posting a .300 OBP while slugging just .375 in more than 150 May and June at-bats.
DSL Rockies: W 6-0
Manuel Melendez and Javier Guevara had three hits apiece to pace the DSL Rockies' offense. Yohander Quintana struck out four batters and didn't issue a walk in six two-hit innings. Henry Garcia followed with six punch-outs while allowing just one hit and a walk in three relief frames.
Double-A New Britain: Postponed
The Rock Cats will make up the game as part of a doubleheader this afternoon (see below).
Wednesday probables (all times Mountain)
Albuquerque (vs. El Paso, 7:05 p.m.): Eddie Butler (0-0, 2.57 ERA)
New Britain (doubleheader vs. Bowie, 3:35 p.m.): Shane Broyles (0-0, 2.79); Shane Carle (6-4, 3.24)
Modesto (vs. San Jose, 8:05 p.m.): TBD
Asheville (at Savannah, 5:05 p.m.): Ryan Castellani (0-4, 3.12)