Let’s hope that when the real Evan Grills makes his MLB debut, he follows in the footsteps of Sim Evan Grills. The 27-year-old was spectacular in his sim big league debut, throwing seven shutout innings, only giving up one hit with no walks and five strikeouts. The game only featured three hits total, but the Rockies strung enough offense together to score two runs and improve to 25-34 on the season in the first game of the series in Arizona (27-33).
Welcome to the sim MLB, Evan!
Grills, a lefty from Canada who was originally drafted by the Astros in 2010, has been thriving in Triple-A Albuquerque with a 3.46 ERA in almost 55 innings with 40 strikeouts and only nine walks. After sim Grills’ first game in the big leagues, his ERA is 0.00. He dominated the Diamondbacks, facing only 23 batters in seven innings, just two over the minimum. In the first three innings, Grills retired Arizona’s hitters in order. In the fourth, the Diamondbacks got their first and only hit, a line drive by Starling Marte that tipped off a leaping Nolan Arenado’s glove. Just moments later, Grills remedied the situation by picking off a greedy Marte at first base. That was the only hit and it didn’t even leave the infield. In the sixth, Grills surrendered his second and only baserunner when Josh Rojas hit a grounder that made second baseman Ryan McMahon reach to his right and then try to throw back to Daniel Murphy at first. The throw pulled Murphy off the bag and the play was ruled an error, even though it would have been a pretty incredible play for McMahon to make. Grills capped off his great debut by striking out Christian Walker to end the seventh inning. Considering the Rockies’ pitching struggles of the sim season, including needing Grills at all since he replaced a demoted Jon Gray, he’s an exciting starter to be excited about moving forward.
The bullpen did its part too
Understandably, I was questioning (maybe cursing) sim Bud Black for putting in Wade Davis to start the eighth inning. The last thing we wanted was to see Grills’ debut spoiled by the bullpen, especially at the hands of Davis, the demoted closer. Davis didn’t start things off well when he walked leadoff batter Eduardo Escobar. However, Davis then turned it around, striking out Ildemaro Vargas swinging and then striking out Carson Kelly looking. Black then turned to Tyler Kinley, who struck out Rojas to end the inning with Escobar stranded at first. In the bottom of the ninth, Kinley completed the four-out save by striking out Stephen Vogt and forcing two groundouts to end the game.
Not much, but just enough offense
Corbin Martin threw a pretty solid game for Arizona, but was more a victim of bad fielding decisions, some made my himself. The first of Colorado’s two hits came off the bat of Arenado when he singled in the second. Nothing came of that, but the Rockies were able to capitalize the next inning when Drew Butera led off with a single. Grills, in his first MLB at bat, laid down a nice bunt that not only advanced Butera to second base, but also allowed Grills himself to get safely to first base when Walker, Arizona’s first baseman, threw to second after Martin was late in getting to first base. (The play was ruled a sacrifice and a fielder’s choice.) The Rockies then had two on and no out with David Dahl coming to bat. On the first pitch, both runners took off and Dahl swung at a ball in the dirt in what could have been a hit and run, but ended up as a double steal with Butera at third and Grills at second. Dahl then hit a weak comebacker to the mound and, in his second questionable fielding choice of the inning, Martin threw home, but was too late to get Butera, who scored to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead. With runners at the corners, there were still no outs. Trevor Story then struck out before Charlie Blackmon hit a sacrifice fly, bringing home Grills to make it 2-0. In his first game, Grills recorded a stolen base and scored a run. Not too bad. Arenado drew a walk, but Murphy popped out to end the inning. The Rockies could have scored more, but it turns out that it was more than enough to help Grills post his first win.
Watch it here
The Rockies will take on the Diamondbacks for game two in the series on Tuesday as Ryan Castellani (1-1, 7.24) will face off against Madison Bumgarner (5-2, 3.45). The sim game won’t be broadcast, but we’ll have the recap for you right here at Purple Row.