The Rockies came into the seventh inning with a 2-0 lead and with their young ace firing on all cylinders. But Gray lost command for a moment, issuing a walk to Cameron Rupp on four pitches and then allowing a single to Freddy Galvis, albeit a bloop single. In a decision that was … let’s go with interesting … manager Walt Weiss went to left-hander McGee to try to preserve the lead. Instead, he gave up the aforementioned home run and, as it turned out, the game. In an instant, it was all gone.
Gray’s final line belies his actual performance as both runs he surrendered actually came on hits given up by McGee. Mixing his fastball — which regularly touched 97-98 mph — with a devastating slider and a pace-disturbing curveball, Gray kept the Phillies out of rhythm for the vast majority of the evening. He finished having given up only three hits, the two runs, and striking out eight while walking just two.
Charlie Blackmon also continues to be awesome and represent those brave enough to grow beards in the face of obvious prejudice against it.
As was befitting a rough night for the Home Nine, the game ended on a called strike three against Story on a pitch that was outside of the zone, but the Rockies earned this particular 5-3 loss.
This loss is half on Jake McGee and half on Walt Weiss. We have often argued in favor of Weiss’ merits here at BSN but this was not a game in his plus column. Gray was firing darts all night and although there was traffic in the late innings, he was still under 100 pitches and clearly was starting to look like the ace the Rockies always hoped he would become.
McGee has been effective against opposite-handed hitting but is still coming back from injury — which is why he is not yet back in his Closer role — and as such was not a great choice with two runners on in a two-run game. Jason Motte, or the newly returned Adam Ottavino, might have made more match-up sense.
Game 3 of the four-game set will see the Phillies most consistent pitcher of 2016, Jerad Eickhoff, against the Rockies rookie Tyler Anderson who has pitched Quality Starts in each of his first five MLB outings.