ROCKIES

Once the Rockies’ great pitching hope, Jon Gray gets World Series win

Oct 30, 2023, 10:29 PM | Updated: 10:36 pm

This was the Jon Gray the Rockies thought they’d see in October when they used the No. 3 overall pick on the hard-throwing Oklahoman in 2013.

The only problem was, Gray delivered that performance for the Texas Rangers.

In Game 3 of the World Series on Monday night, Gray dominated the Arizona Diamondbacks after entering in the fourth inning in relief of injured starter Max Scherzer. He delivered three shutout innings, surrendering just one hit as the Rangers maintained a 3-0 lead en route to a 3-1 win.

Texas took a 2-1 series lead, and Gray played a major role, confounding the D-Backs in in the same stadium where his career turned for the worse in purple and black.

FOR JON GRAY, A MUCH BETTER NIGHT THAN HIS LAST POSTSEASON GAME AGAINST THE SNAKES

It was hard for Rockies fans to watch Monday night and not think of Gray’s previous postseason appearance at Chase Field.

Tapped to start the 2017 National League wild-card game for the Rockies against Arizona, the night was disastrous.

Gray surrendered a 3-run Paul Goldschmidt blast eight pitches into the game, and finally go the hook with the Rockies down 4-0 after yielding a second-inning, run-scoring triple to Ketel Marte. He lasted just 1 1/3 innings.

Colorado eventually lost, 11-8, unable to overcome the early deficit despite eventually closing the gap to 8-7 in the top of the eighth inning.

A year later, the Rockies returned to the postseason — but Gray wasn’t a part of the show. He struggled in the opening two-and-a-half months of the campaign, leading the Rockies to option him to AAA Albuquerque. They ultimately recalled him, but Gray finished the year with a 5.12 ERA. The team left him off its postseason roster.

His form recovered a year later, but after 2021, the Rockies did not tender him. Gray signed with Texas that offseason. But he failed to make it out of the fourth inning in three of his final four regular-season starts, then landed on the 15-day injured list with lower forearm tightness. That kept him off the Rangers’ roster for the wild-card and divisional rounds.

However, Gray recovered to make the ALCS roster — although Texas manager Bruce Bochy moved him out of the rotation and into the bullpen. Gray worked one inning of relief in Game 3 of the ALCS against Houston, allowing three baserunners and an earned run.

But in the World Series, Gray’s relief work has been ace material. He struck out four in 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in Game 1, then delivered 3 innings of masterwork Monday.

On the sport’s grandest stage, he looked every bit the pitcher the Rockies once hoped he would be.

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