Jon Gray Throws a Gem; Sox Sweep Yanks

Jonathan Gray was the third overall pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball draft.

Being picked after Mark Appel and Kris Bryant, the expectations were high after seeing what Bryant has done. After a shaky start in 2015 going 0-2 with a 5.53 ERA in only nine starts and 40+ innings, it seems as if Gray has begun to figure it out at the highest level.

On Saturday night, Gray threw what could have been the best game in Rockies’ history.

Gray went all nine innings on Saturday and only gave up four hits in the outing. He also broke the franchise record of batters struck out that was held by the late Darryl Kile, which was achieved in 1998, when he struck out his 15th batter of the night. He finished with 16 and after the 16th let out a cry that was worthy of a man who had just dominated an opposing team.

According to ESPN.com, Gray achieved a game score of 95. Who’s outdone that this year? The likes of Madison Bumgarner (98), Jaime Garcia and Vince Velasquez (97). Meanwhile, with his score of 95, Gray is tied with Clayton Kershaw and Danny Duffy.

Remarkably, his teammate Chad Bettis had posted one of the best game scores in Rockies history only two weeks earlier against the San Francisco Giants. Bettis only gave up two hits and struck out seven against a lineup that is superior to that of the San Diego Padres, the team Gray faced Saturday.

Regardless, before Gray’s start there had only been four game score in the 90s at Coors Field before his grandeur performance. Jeff Francis achieved a 91 when he two-hit the Cardinals in ’06. Hideo Nomo scored a 91 when he no-hit the Rockies, although he walked four. Pat Rapp also scored a 91 when he one-hit the Rocks and also walked one in’95. And of course Bettis’ score of 90 that was thrown two weeks ago.

Before I move on, I’d like to touch on one last thing that makes this so remarkable. Not only did Gray break the franchise record, he also broke the single game record for strikeouts recorded at Coors Field.

If you’re a Rockies fan, I’m sure you have seen the hashtag of #coors making its way through the world of Twitter. Yes Coors Field has not produced the most home runs this year. That honor belongs to Yankee Stadium (1.421) with their short porch in right, and Chase Field (1.313) is behind them. Coors ranks third on that list with a number of 1.265.

However, Coors Field does lead in runs at 1.400, hits at 1.244, while being second in doubles at 1.395, fourth in triples at 1.596 and walks at 1.104.

These stats don’t mean much to most people. Either you’re biased and think Coors isn’t that bad you’re biased and think Coors is the only reason why the Rockies are semi-relevant in the offensive categories. According to ESPN.com and their MLB park factors 1.000 is the middle. Anything below 1.000 favors the pitcher. Anything above 1.000 favors the hitter. Coors Field is the only one that ranks in the top five of all categories listed.

This is the what the Rockies expected when they drafted Gray third overall. And I’m sure that this is what Jon Gray expects every time he takes the mound.

Other Notes:

Remember that four game series that was supposed to reignite the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees? The rivalry is alive and well, but one team certainly showed its dominance this past weekend.

With the Yankees entering the four game set only four games back of the Red Sox for the division title, they laid a goose egg in the W column.

After going up three heading to the bottom of the 9th inning, all-star closer Dellin Betances entered the game in what all thought was a save in the making. The Red Sox had other ideas. David Ortiz drove in Dustin Pedroia. Mookies Betts drove in Xander Bogaerts. Then came Hanley Ramirez. Betances reached backed and threw a 99 MPH fastball. Ramirez didn’t miss. Ramirez went dead center for a three-run walk off home run.

The next day the Red Sox jumped on the Yanks quickly. Going up 2-0 in the bottom of the first, they didn’t look back. Ramirez homered once more to center, and Jackie Bradley Jr., added another home run in the 7th and put the Yankees away to take a 2-0 series lead.

The Yankees needed to win the last two of the set to keep ground in the AL East. The pitcher in the way was David Price. Coming into the game Price had won seven straight with an ERA of 2.16. Don’t tell the baby bombers that he should stop them. In the third inning Gary Sanchez turned on a Price pitch and put the Yankees up by three. The Yanks were able to add two more before the ran Price off the mound. Bogaerts was able to bring the Sox within one after a two-run shot in the 5th. The Red Sox took the lead in the 7th inning and held on to take the third game of the set.

In a showdown on Sunday Night Baseball, Ramirez shined once again. After going down four runs, Ramirez stepped to the plate in the 5th and belted his third home run of the series bringing the Sox within one. After Bradley Jr. singled home Travis Shaw in the 6th and tied the game, Ramirez was up once again in the 7th inning. He certainly didn’t disappoint. Ramirez hammered his fourth home run of the series and his second of the night to put away the Yankees for good.

This was the first time since 1990 that the Red Sox had swept the Yankees in a four game set. The four game sweep puts the Yankees eight games back of the division and now four games back of the wild card with only 13 games to go in the season, and giving them a two percent chance to sneak in the playoffs. 

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