If Sunday night was Jon Gray’s last start with the Albuquerque Isotopes, he certainly had plenty of time to savor the moment.
In a game with 1 hour and 47 minutes of delays (first for rain then when the Isotopes Park stadium lights went out), Gray overcame a slow start to post another strong outing in a 8-1 win over visiting Las Vegas 51s in front of an announced crowd of 8,698.
And he did it with the Colorado Rockies senior director of player development Zach Wilson in the stadium watching the organization’s 2013 first-round draft pick, all at a time when the parent club is, again, in need of a starting pitcher.
Gray (5-6, 4.57) had his ups and downs, throwing 84 pitches in five innings of work, allowing one unearned run while striking out seven and walking two.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander followed a leadoff triple to Dilson Herrera by striking out the side in the first. His own errant pickoff attempt to second base in the third inning led to the only run he allowed being unearned. He labored through 64 pitches in his first three innings before using just 20 in his final two innings and returned the final nine hitters he faced.
Gray, who is 2-2 with a 3.66 ERA in his last 10 starts with 59 strikeouts in 59 innings, has long been rumored to be on the next flight north to join the Rockies rotation, but instead has seen several of his Isotopes teammates get the call instead as the organization has, admittedly, been taking a slow approach with the 23-year-old pitching prospect.
Sunday, it was announced Chad Bettis was heading to the 15-day DL for the Rockies and today’s projected starter for the Isotopes, Eddie Butler, will instead be starting for the Rockies. But that still leaves a hole in the starting rotation for the Rockies five days from now – a span that lines up perfectly with when Gray would normally be making his next start.
IN FRONT OF THE BOSSES: With Wilson in the house, presumably to watch Gray, another Rockies prospect took the opportunity to remind the bosses why he should be playing in the majors.
Kyle Parker, who played first base on Sunday, was 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Parker has started the last 19 games for the Isotopes and played 167 consecutive innings. In that span, he’s had nine doubles and 15 RBIs. He’s hitting .274 on the season.
LIGHTS OUT PERFORMANCE: Rain, or at least the threat of it, led to the start of Sunday’s game being delayed 1 hour and 28 minutes. At no point during the delay was the rain ever coming down as hard as it was for several innings of Saturday night’s Isotopes win over the 51s.
In the top of the seventh inning, half of the stadium lights at Isotopes Park inexplicably turned off, leading to a 19-minute delay. During that delay, the stadium DJ first played Journey’s “When the Lights Go Down in the City” followed by the “Electric Slide.”
The game, which was scheduled to start at 6 p.m., recorded its final out at 10:42 with an actual playing time of 2:50.