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Rockies ace Jon Gray maintains confidence despite results

Rockies news and links for April 21, 2018

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Colorado Rockies: We have to talk about Jon Gray | Rox Pile
Before Friday night’s game, Rockies ace Jon Gray’s numbers were marked by a stark contrast between bottom-line results and peripherals. Although an ERA of 6.23 through his first 21 2/3 innings left much to be desired, Gray’s Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) mark of 3.64 and xFIP number of 3.19 indicated that Gray was running into a good deal of misfortune. 23 strikeouts against 5 walks made for very encouraging numbers, with the three home runs representing the biggest area of which to nitpick.

Friday’s outing was a true clunker for Gray. In five innings, Gray allowed seven runs (six earned) without getting an out in the 6th inning. With three walks allowed to only one strikeout, Gray saw his season ERA climb over 7.00. The peripherals also took notice, with a climb towards a 4.30 FIP/3.90 xFIP combination. While 26 2/3 innings is still not a sample from which to declare a complete disaster, there are absolutely things that should be worked on. As Olivia Greene at Rox Pile writes, “pitching coach Steve Foster needs to work on something with Gray, whether it be mechanics, grip on his pitches, etc.” Gray’s next outing needs to offer a significant improvement from what we saw Friday night to inspire confidence in the Rockies starter for the time being.

This is how Gray plans to right ship on the hill |
For his part, Gray is not concerned about his struggles, and neither are his manager Bud Black or catcher Tony Wolters. Gray has been having the strange issue of allowing hits when he is ahead in the count, with a .417 batting average against in such situations. All expect Gray will right the ship as he has done historically.

Prospects No More: Infielder Ryan McMahon | Mile High Sports
In an article that originally appeared in Mile High Magazine, Aniello Piro chats with Ryan McMahon, who has been seeing more playing time as of late. When asked about his expectations for the season, McMahon said that he simply wants to be a part of it. McMahon also chatted about his defensive grooming at both corner infield positions.

Colorado Rockies: Let’s continue the talk about lineup construction | Rox Pile
Rox Pile’s Aaron Hurt was pleased with the lineup construction from Friday evening’s affair against the Chicago Cubs at Coors Field. Hurt likes the idea of DJ LeMahieu leading off, with Chris Iannetta in the second spot, and Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon being interchangeable in the 3 and 4 slots.

Adding in my two cents, I like a 1-2 combination of LeMahieu and Blackmon, with Arenado batting cleanup. As a big believer in lineup optimization, the 3-hole isn’t one where I would be particularly concerned about who is placed there, though Iannetta wouldn’t be a bad choice, in my opinion.

Being the Old Guy: Veteran catcher Chris Iannetta returns to his roots | Mile High Sports
Mile High Sports interviewed Iannetta, who returns to the Rockies on a two-year deal for his second stint with the organization after previously spending the 2006-2011 seasons with the Rox. Iannetta talks about the difference between being a younger player (with a goal of staying at the game’s highest level) and a veteran (with the goal of winning a championship).

Around Baseball

As Giants arrive in Anaheim, Madison Bumgarner reconsiders Shohei Ohtani: ‘I didn’t think it would work’ | The Athletic ($)
Shohei Ohtani has been incredibly fun to watch for the Los Angeles Angels, and various members of clubs that didn’t win out on his services had different reactions. To Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, attempts to win over Ohtani’s services were a “gigantic waste of time.” The San Francisco Giants took a slightly more nuanced approach. Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic features quotes from pitcher Madison Bumgarner, manager Bruce Bochy, and general manager Bobby Evans regarding Ohtani.

One simple request changed the trajectory of Adam Cimber’s pitches — and his life | The Athletic ($)
The Rockies have seen San Diego Padres rookie reliever Adam Cimber on four occasions already in 2018. It has been a phenomenal start to Cimber’s major league career, with 18 strikeouts and 3 walks in 14 innings, accompanying an ERA of 1.93. Dennis Lin of The Athletic details the story of how Cimber converted to being a sidearmer and the phone call his parents received when he learned he was cracking a MLB roster for the first time.

ICYMI: Kris Bryant is looking ahead to the next frontier | The Athletic ($)
It’s always a treat when the Cubs come to Colorado, as we get to see the best two third basemen in the game square off against each other. Arenado for the Rockies and Kris Bryant for the Chicago Cubs are sure to put on a show. For Bryant, it’s all about not being comfortable. That’s right, not being comfortable. He even takes cold showers to make sure of it. Patrick Mooney of The Athletic has the details.