Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Gray sees positives in loss to Royals

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Jon Gray made just three significant mistakes among his 101 pitches in 6 2/3 innings Tuesday night. But due to the experienced Royals hitters he was facing and his team's struggling offense, that added up to a 3-2 loss at Kauffman Stadium.

"I try to ditch all the negative thoughts," Gray said. "After every game, I feel positive because I know exactly what to do to fix the problems. I am going to take it into this week and work on it really hard."

View Full Game Coverage

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Jon Gray made just three significant mistakes among his 101 pitches in 6 2/3 innings Tuesday night. But due to the experienced Royals hitters he was facing and his team's struggling offense, that added up to a 3-2 loss at Kauffman Stadium.

"I try to ditch all the negative thoughts," Gray said. "After every game, I feel positive because I know exactly what to do to fix the problems. I am going to take it into this week and work on it really hard."

View Full Game Coverage

But some miscues are harder to turn into positives. Of the three miscues, a first-inning pitch that bounced under catcher Jonathan Lucroy's glove and scooted to the backstop to let in the Royals' first run stuck with Gray. Lucroy was charged with a passed ball and the run went unearned, but Gray took no solace.

"In ballgames like that, it's tough to let go of what happened in the first inning, like throwing that wild pitch ... those things are really important," Gray said.

With a staff that is populated mostly with rookies and just welcomed back righty Chad Bettis from a bout with testicular cancer, eyes have turned to Gray -- in just his second season -- to serve as the staff bell cow. No other team in the playoff race has asked a pitcher with so little experience to carry such a load.

And while Gray hasn't been lights-out, he has certainly been competitive. Gray's performance on Tuesday, when he gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits and struck out six in seven innings, was not the reason the Rockies dropped a half-game behind the D-backs and into the National League's second Wild Card spot.

"We want to see Jon continue to grow as a pitcher and continue throwing pitches in the seventh, and hopefully in the future throwing pitches in the eighth," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Three runs on most nights is good enough to give us a chance to win, and we had a chance to win tonight."

Video: COL@KC: Black on Gray's performance in 3-2 loss

The questionable pitch in the first, after Whit Merrifield singled softly, stole second and moved to third on a grounder, was one of three Gray wanted back.

In the fourth, Melky Cabrera tripled on a low fastball that Gray wanted higher. The ball stuck under the fence in right, which allowed Cabrera to take third.

Cabrera would score on a misfortunate play: an Eric Hosmer chop bounded so high that not even third baseman Nolan Arenado's leaping effort could secure an out at the plate. Later in the fourth, Gray didn't throw his fastball to Salvador Perez low and outside enough, and Perez smacked a double.

Otherwise, Gray followed Lucroy's calls and liked the result, even though he felt he could have been ahead in the count more often.

"We did a really good job of pitch-calling with the secondary [pitches]. A lot of curveballs and sliders, and kept them guessing," Gray said. "They weren't really staying on fastballs. We even mixed in a changeup tonight and it worked out.

"If I get ahead of some guys tonight, some at-bats change. Other than that, I'm glad to stick it out there and keep rolling."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Jon Gray