Gray on tough start: 'I've got a lot to learn'

Starter hoping to be 'back on' after yielding uncharacteristic 8 runs in 2-plus innings

July 15th, 2017

NEW YORK -- This wasn't the way wanted the second half of the season to begin. It wasn't the way the Rockies wanted it to begin.

"Our overall game has to get better," said Friday, before the Rockies took the field against the Mets for their first game after the All-Star break.

Their game was very good for much of the first half of the season, despite 13 losses in the past 18 games coming into the break. Their hopes remain high for the second half, even after Friday's 14-2 loss to the Mets.

"It's one game, against a guy who was on," manager Bud Black said.

The guy who was on was Mets starter , who allowed just four hits in eight innings. The guy who wasn't on was Gray, the 25-year-old right-hander who didn't get an out in the third inning and ended up allowing eight runs on nine hits.

"I just wanted to get some positive energy going," Gray said. "It stinks to let down the team. I think they know I'm going to be back on. Back on, for sure."

Gray pitched well in winning his first two starts since coming off the disabled list. He didn't pitch well Friday, even though four of the Mets' nine hits off him came on softly-hit balls.

"Just a bad start overall," Gray said.

With so many rookies in their rotation, the Rockies look to Gray for some stability, even though this was just his 44th start in the Major Leagues. In this game, at least, Gray wasn't able to provide it.

"There's still a progression to be made," Black said. "Jon's still a guy who has to clear some hurdles."

Gray wasn't able to clear Friday's hurdles. The Rockies gave him an early lead with an unearned run in the first inning, but Gray wasn't able to make it last. He made it through the first inning after two Mets reached base, but he gave up two runs in the second and allowed the first six batters to reach in the third.

That third inning began with a softly hit double by and a bloop single by , but Gray missed his spot and ripped a double past center fielder Charlie Blackmon. Gray made it worse by walking two of the next three batters, sandwiched around a base hit.

When the inning began to go bad, Gray couldn't find a way to stop it.

"That is something good pitchers do," Black said. "They're able to keep a game at a certain point."

Gray isn't a bad pitcher by any means, but games like this prove he's still not as good as the Rockies believe he can be.

"Oh yeah, I've got a lot to learn," Gray agreed. "Baseball is not going to stop teaching me."

The Mets led, 5-1, when Black went to the bullpen, and reliever allowed all three inherited runners to score. The Mets kept adding on against the rest of the Rockies bullpen, with allowing a three-run home run to in the seventh inning and walking in a run in the ninth.

The 14 runs and 19 hits were both the most the Rockies have allowed in a road game this year.

As Black said, it's just one game.