I got a fever... and the only prescription... is more Jon Gray.
In a season which the Rockies starting rotation has been a major disappointment, Jon Gray once again set a winning, never say die, las cucarachas tone for the pitching staff. Pitching eight shutout innings on Friday, Jon led the Rockies to their second victory in a row for the first time since July 26th and proved once again that he has settled in as the ace of 2019.
Noah Yingling offers his thoughts on Jon Gray and commentary on his latest gem in this article. It will be interesting to see if Jon’s start injects more life into the pitchers around him, particularly German Marquez, as the Rockies play for their third win in a row—which hasn’t been done since this spring, June 18-20.
What do you think, Purple Row readers? Can one pitcher’s gem actually influence the performance of others? How infectious is that kind of momentum? Or is it simply coincidence?
Drew Creasman talks about the juiced baseball phenomenon of 2019 and suggests that there may be more to blame for the record number of home runs leaving baseball fields than just the newly centered pills.
Drew references the exodus of hitters switching from ash bats to maple bats that occurred roughly around 2013-2014, and how the likelihood of shattered wood splintering across a field has now become a baseball flying over the outfield walls on swings that aren’t great. Neither the ball nor the bat are totally to blame, but both combined are giving pitchers heart palpitations before they even step on the mound.
I was going to bring into question how the Rockies, despite this, are on pace to have one of the lowest HR totals they’ve had in years. Entering Saturday they hit a total of 159, good for 21st in baseball. So naturally, they had a home run fest last night and made me eat my words. It’s worth it, I suppose.
Just as Thomas Harding points out, Chad Bettis has had a very up-and-down season. His season started poorly in the rotation (8.78 ERA in three starts) before he was moved tot he bullpen. There, he rediscovered his fastball and had a 1.46 ERA in 24+ innings, striking out 18 in that time. Since then, however, Chad has pitched to the tune of a 9.12 ERA in his last 20 games. Yikes.
But Bud Black explained that Bettis has been dealing with a hip issue, and an injury of unknown severity might be to blame. Of course, it might not be to blame and Chad might just not be very good, but the injury thing is possible. Either way, Bettis is now on the 10-day injured list with a hip impingement. How long he’ll be sidelined is TBD, but at this point of a lost season, I wouldn’t expect to see him on the mound anytime soon.
On the farm
Willie MacIver had a huge day for Asheville by going 3-for-5 with a walk-off two-run home run, and Brenton Doyle (Round 4, 2019) accumulated nine bases by hitting a home run and two doubles in a 4-for-4 showing.
The Isotopes were shut down by Matt Harvey in his first start in the A’s organization (4.0 IP, 2 hits, 5 K), but broke through in the fifth after the Dark Knight was removed, including Sam Hilliard’s 32nd home run of the season.
Short Season-A: Vancouver Canadians 3, Boise Hawks 2