DENVER – The Colorado Rockies returned to Coors Field Friday night after a nine-game road trip, clinging to the lead in the National League West, with intent to preserve that lead behind their struggling ace against the Cincinnati Reds.
Manager Bud Black was hoping to get Jon Gray going against a bottom-feeder team in Cincinnati, a team that has already changed their manager in the early stages of this season. Gray was coming off back-to-back starts of six and five runs allowed, respectively.
The Reds countered with right-hander Sal Romano. Not to be outdone by Gray’s recent struggles, Romano entered the game allowing seven and six runs in his previous two starts and carried a 5.62 ERA on the season.
The BABIP gods were not kind to Gray early, who got routine ground balls on the first four batters of the game and five overall in the first inning. The problem for him, however, was that the Rockies shifted on the second two hitters,
Tucker Barnhart and Joey Votto, which allowed their grounders to sneak through. If if’s and but’s were candy etc. but had the Rockies maintained standard defensive alignment, Gray could’ve escaped the first on six pitches. Instead, he threw 23, hitting a batter and allowing two runs on three hits, all of which just crept past Rockies infielders.