Jon Gray, Rockies try to avoid sweep by Giants

MLB

The Colorado Rockies had a chance to be major spoilers on their seven-game homestand, but the only thing that’s been spoiled is their home record.

After splitting a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, Colorado has dropped two straight to the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants.

The Rockies, outscored 22-8 the past two days, have a chance to salvage the last game when the teams meet Wednesday afternoon.

The Giants (89-50) won 12-3 on Tuesday, their third straight victory.

San Francisco will send right-hander Anthon DeSclafani (11-6, 3.24 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday. Colorado right-hander Jon Gray (7-10, 4.13) is expected to be activated from the 10-day injured list to make the start.

DeSclafani has started 26 games this season, and nearly a third of his victories have come against the Rockies. All three of his starts vs. Colorado in 2021 have been at home. Wednesday will be his second career start at Coors Field.

He has two shutouts this season, one coming against the Rockies on April 11. In the three outings against Colorado, DeSclafani has allowed just two runs and has a microscopic 0.90 ERA.

DeSclafani is 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA in six career starts vs. Colorado. In his one game at Coors Field, he allowed three runs over seven innings but came away with a no-decision in 2015.

The Giants’ pitchers have done well in Denver this series because they have remained aggressive. Tuesday’s starter, Logan Webb, didn’t shy away from throwing strikes, and his pitch total was 60 through six innings. He wound up at 85 in his seven-inning outing.

“This is a very difficult environment to pitch,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. “When you’re on the mound at Coors Field, you have to attack the strike zone and understand there’s going to be some hard contact.”

Colorado has lost three straight overall, and its dominance at home has gone away. The Rockies had won nine straight at Coors Field to start an 11-2 home stretch prior to their Sunday defeat to Atlanta.

Gray went on the 10-day injured list on Sept. 1, retroactive to Aug. 29, due to right forearm tightness that cropped up in his Aug. 28 start at Dodger Stadium. It was a worrisome injury, but he made quick progress.

Gray is looking to turn things around. He has been the losing pitcher in four of his past five starts, and he hasn’t won since July 30 at San Diego.

The surging Giants might not provide a way out of the slump. In 14 career starts against them, he is 2-7 with a 5.88 ERA. In his last appearance against the Giants, Aug. 15 at San Francisco, he allowed three runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings as Colorado lost 5-2.

While Gray is set to return, the Rockies hope Connor Joe can get back before the end of the season. The rookie outfielder, who is in the injured list due to a right hamstring strain, has made an impression on his coaches with a strong season.

“What we saw in spring training, what we saw throughout this year, what he did in the minor leagues leads us to believe that that can continue now,” Colorado manager Bud Black said.

Joe, 29, began his major league career with the Giants, appearing in eight games and going 1-for-15 in 2019. This year, he is batting .285 with eight homers and 35 RBIs in 63 games.

–Field Level Media

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