Colorado Rockies right-hander Jon Gray has been sidelined since April 13 with a stress fracture in his left foot. After months of recovery, he is set to take the mound for the first time since the injury Friday in a crucial matchup against the surging division rival Arizona Diamondbacks. While Gray’s return will certainly help the Rockies, he single handily won’t solve their problems overnight.

The Rockies, 47-34, are in the middle of their worst skid of the season, having lost eight straight games, all against NL West opponents. The main source of the Rockies’ recent struggles has been the pitching. Both the starters and relievers have sputtered in recent time, posting a 10.22 ERA over the course of the losing streak.

Gray, 25, is the presumed ace of the Rockies young staff, and will hopefully help jumpstart Colorado’s pitching staff. But let’s remember that Gray is still a young, developing pitcher himself. While his 2016 campaign was certainly a success, he showed that he still needs to work on his game to become a consistently successful pitcher at the Major League level. Ing his first full season, Gray had ups and downs. He ran out to an 8-4 record through Aug. 2, but faltered somewhat down the stretch, finishing 10-10.

With Friday’s start marking his first Major League action in roughly two months, expectations must be tempered. More likely than not, Gray will struggle at some point early in his return.

The Rockies’ recent pitching problems run deeper than just one arm. Gray will certainly be a welcome and valuable addition to Colorado’s struggling staff, but the Rockies’ issues stretch beyond the contribution a lone addition to the starting rotation can make.

Over the losing streak, Rockies starters have only produced one quality start, with Kyle Freeland and Jeff Hoffman being the only two pitchers who have logged six innings pitched over that skid.

The Rockies’ weak starting pitching is in need of a larger overhaul. Their struggles have resulted in a taxed bullpen that owns an ERA just under six throughout late-June gloom.

While the pitching has certainly been the biggest problem, Colorado’s offense has struggled collectively over their rough patch as well. With a team batting average of .206 in their last eight games, Colorado’s powerhouse offense has fallen short at a time the team needed it most..

The Rockies’ magical start to open the season has come to close. As it stands, Colorado is still holding the final Wild Card position, but their recent struggles are certainly a cause for concern. Most teams, good or bad, go through rough patches throughout the course of a 162-game season, but for the Rockies to keep pace in the National League West, they will need to snap their skid promptly.

The return of Jon Gray will give the Rockies a much-needed boost, but their problems are far deeper than one arm at this point. It will take a collective effort from the pitchers, hitters and coaches to help this team find their second wind as the All-Star break rapidly approaches.