Rockies ace Jon Gray on pitching at Coors Field: ‘The mind plays a big part of it’

Jon Gray went 10-4 in his 20 starts in 2017; an abbreviated season for the Rockies’ ace due to injury. His start in the Rockies’ Wild Card loss to Arizona was forgettable, but the postseason experience he earned may be invaluable.

Gray, 26 and headed into his third full season in the majors, has his sights set on going even farther this season. In an interview with Eric Goodman of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7, with guest co-host and legendary Denver sports broadcaster Ron Zappolo, Gray said that the moves that general manager Jeff Bridich has made thus far — adding catcher Chris Iannetta, set-up man Bryan Shaw and All-Star closer Wade Davis — “just made us that much better.”

Discussing the near-legendary difference between pitching at Coors Field, and… well, anywhere else, Gray said, “There is a difference. The mindset I have at home is more of an aggressive mindset; I have the guy out in my mind before I make the pitch. It should be that way all the time, but at home, I really feel like I have it in lockdown mode. I take it personal; it’s something I really take pride in — to pitch well at elevation, to pitch well at home.”

Gray said that the nature of Coors Field, however, plays tricks on the mind to some extent, noting that “most of the home runs I’ve given up, I’ve almost seen it happen before I’ve thrown the ball. Most of the outs? I’ve felt most confident before I’ve thrown the pitches. The mind plays a big part of it.”

Entrenched atop the rotation at the relatively tender age of 26, Gray might be considered old in comparison to fellow starters German Marquez (22), Antonio Senzatela (22), Kyle Freeland (24), and Jeff Hoffman (25). That surprising fact hasn’t been lost on Gray. “I am, actually. I’ve got one [gray hair] going right now, actually,” Gray joked. “It’s not half-bad.”

Click here to listen to the full interview with Jon Gray, including what he had to say about teammate Charlie Blackmon‘s beard in comparison to his own (“he might actually find something he lost in there”), or listen to the podcast below.

Catch Afternoon Drive with Goodman and Shapiro every weekday from 4p-6p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup. Download the all-new free Mile High Sports Radio mobile app for Apple or Android.

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