Jon Gray figures to get at least one more start. And it will be the biggest start of his young career. It will be a win-or-go-home moment for Gray and the Rockies, who are one win away from clinching no worst than a tie for the second NL wild-card, and the Magic Number for clinching the post-season invite outright is two — combination of Rockies wins and Brewers losses.
Gray worked six innings, giving up three runs in the fourth in Wednesday’s 15-9 victory over the Marlins at Coors Field, extending his streak of consecutive starts in which he has allowed three or fewer earned runs to 13, one shy of the Club record Ubaldo Jimenez set in 2010.
Gray is 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA in that streak, which began on July 25.
And now he is set up, on normal rest to start what would be a Game 163 on Monday if the Rockies wind up tied for the second NL wild-card spot with the Cardinals or Brewers. If that isn’t necessary, Gray would go on seven days rest next Wednesday at Arizona in what would be the winner-take-all showdown of the two NL wild-card teams for the right to advance to the NL Division Series against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium Oct. 5.
“I will treat it as just another start,” he said, “like it’s the middle of the season.”
Burt it won’t be just “another start.” And it won’t be in “the middle of the season.”
On Monday in a Game 163 or in a wild-card matchup Wednesday, where the anticipated opposing starter would be Zack Greinke, Gray will pitch a game that will determine whether the Rockies go home or extend their season deeper into October.
And he gets that.
“It will be a good spot, but I can’t go out there with `Do or Die’ in my head,” he said, admitting, “but it is a good position to be in.”
Gray is certainly in a good position, having shown consistency in his last 13 starts with his strongest stretch of the season coming in his last five starts in which he is 4-0 with a 2.10 ERA.
Gray’s Last 13 Starts
|Date Opp Score||Dec||IP||H||R||ER||BB||SO|
|Totals ERA: 2.65||10||78||71||24||23||16||81|
The Rockies certainly don’t have a habit of clinching a post-season berth early. They have claimed an NL wild-card spot three times — 1995, 2007 and 2009 — and the clinching has come on Oct. 1 all three times, although it has been a different game in the season.
In 1995, it was Game 162, and it was clinched when the Astros lost to the Cubs, and the Rockies beat the Giants 10-9.
In 2007, it was Game 163, at Coors Field, when the Rockies beat the Padres 9-8 in 13 innings. The Rockies rallied for three in the bottom of the 13th off Trevor Hoffman, the last one scoring on Matt Holliday’s still-debated slide into home plate on Jamey Carroll’s sacrifice fly to shallow right.
And in 2009 it was Game 159 when the Braves lost what was the third game in a season-ending six-game losing streak, and the Rockies beat the Brewers 9-2 at Coors Field.
Neshek is 2-1 with 13 holds and a 2.45 ERA since joining the Rockies on July 28, other relievers combined to give up six runs on July 29. And he has gotten better as he has settled in. In the last five weeks he has allowed only two runs in 121 innings, walking one batter and striking out 13.Pat Neshek, acquired just before the July 31 trading deadline to provide a proven setup man for closer Greg Holland, has been solid since joining the Rockie and gotten better. Neshek got the call to get the final two outs in Wednesday win after Jeff Hoffman failed to retire any of the four hitters he faced in the top of the ninth, and Kyle Freeland gave up a single got a batter out.
|Totals 1.42 ERA||2||0||9||12||8||2||1||13|
Charlie Blackmon continues his climb up the ladder in terms of the most impactful seasons ever for a lead-off hitter. He went 3-for-6 on Wednesday with three RBI. He has driven in 100 runs this year, 99 while hitting lead off, one shy of the MLB record for a lead-off hitter that Darin Erstad set in 2000 with the Angels.
|Darin Erstad||2000 Ana||100|
|Charlie Blackmon||2017 Col||99|
|Alfonso Soriano||2002 NYY||99|
|Nomar Garciaparra||1997 Bos||98|
|Jacoby Ellsbury||2011 Bos||97|
|Johnny Damon||2004 Bos||91|
|Brian Dozier||2017 Min||90|
|Grady Sizemore||2008 Cle||90|
|Craig Biggio||1998 Hou||88|
|Johnny Damon||2000 KC||88|
Blackmon also has forced a revision of the Rockies All-Time lists. He now has the top four seasons in franchise history in terms of extra-base hits as a lead-off hitter. On Wednesday he had his 66th multi-hit game of the season, tied with Dante Bichette for the Rockies record, and had three hits, giving him 208 for the season, equalling the sixth best total in franchise history.
|Charlie Blackmon||2017||85||Dante Bichette||1998||66||Dante Bichette||1998||219|
|Charlie Blackmon||2016||69||Charlie Blackmon||2017||66||Todd Helton||2000||216|
|Charlie Blackmon||2015||56||Ellis Burks||1996||65||Matt Holliday||2007||216|
|Charlie Blackmon||2014||49||Larry Walker||1997||65||Ellis Burks||1996||211|
|Eric Young||1997||40||Andres Galarraga||1996||64||Todd Helton||2003||209|
|Dexter Fowler||2009||37||Todd Helton||2000||63||Charlie Blackmon||2017||208|
|Juan Pierre||2001||36||Juan Pierre||2001||62||Larry Walker||1997||208|
|Ronnie Belliard||2003||35||Vinny Castilla||1998||61||Vinny Castilla||1998||206|
|Eric Young||1996||33||Todd Helton||2003||61||Juan Pierre||2001||202|
|Eric Young||1995||33||Neifi Perez||1999||60||Garrett Atkins||2006||198|