Tuesday Newsletter time: The latest on Jon Gray’s left knee after he left his Monday start early
(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Jon Gray didn’t pitch very well in the first inning Monday but made some pitches to get out of a jam.
He did much better the next three innings and even into the fifth.
That’s when the Texas Rangers right-hander felt something funky in his left knee and exited the game.
Gray didn’t need to be helped off the field. He wasn’t even limping. He was around his pitch limit, so it didn’t make a ton of sense to risk anything.
But there is concern that Gray might need time on the injured list for the third time in a month. The first time was for a blister in the season opener, and the second was for a slightly sprained left knee in his first start back at Seattle.
“We’ll see,” manager Chris Woodward told reporters after a 1-0 loss to the Yankees. “If he comes in sore tomorrow, it might be something where we have to give him some time.”
Gray said that the knee feels better than when he injured it against the Mariners. He kept pitching that night, as he was injured during the game’s first at-bat. It wasn’t until the next morning that he felt so much pain it was difficult to walk.
His turn in the rotation comes up again Saturday. If he doesn’t need the IL, he could be given an extra day thanks to a spot starter from the minors.
“It’s feeling OK,” said Gray, who signed a four-year, $56 million contract in the offseason. “It’s not like it was the first time. I don’t want it to turn into anything worse and have to miss another start. I’m just trying to stay positive. You don’t want to miss any more baseball. You could start to spiral downward if you let it.”
He allowed only two hits over his 4 1/3 innings, though he walked three. He also struck out four.
The Rangers went 3-2 on their road trip to Philadelphia and New York. It’s hard to complain about that.
The pitching was very good, surrendering 11 runs in five games. A strong case can be made the a few of those shouldn’t have scored.
The offense unable to string enough hits together.
“It’s just consistency,” Woodward said. “It’s one at-bat to the next. We’ve got to get to where in the lineup it is a true nine on one.”
But Rangers could have had a perfect road trip, losing two one-run games at Yankee Stadium.
The Monday loss stung because the offense was no-hit by Nestor Cortes Jr. into the eighth inning and the game-winning hit somehow wasn’t caught.
Woodward said that Anthony Rizzo split the gap perfectly. Center fielder Eli White was playing Rizzo to pull and was shaded toward right field. Left fielder Nick Solak was playing Rizzo to go the other way and was shaded toward the left-field line.
The ball was in the air a long time. Had it been a punt, the returner would have signaled for a fair catch. Yet, it landed between White and Solak, and Aaron Judge scored from first base.
It sure seems like that ball should have been caught.
What if Adolis Garcia had been in left and Leody Taveras in center? Both are excellent defensively. Or Taveras in left and White in center? Would the guy who was playing left field Monday for the Yankees, Joey Gallo, have caught it?
Solak and Brad Miller are holding down left field, and they’ve made some good plays. Solak made a nice catch Sunday against the wall in foul territory.
Could the defense in left field be better? Sure. Does it need to be better? Yes.
Little League right field
As soon as Woodward said that the Gleyber Torres walk-off homer in Game 1 of the Sunday doubleheader would have been in out in 99 percent of ballparks if not for the short porch in right field at the Yankees’ “Little League ballpark,” he should have known trouble was lurking.
The New York media had a field day with the comment, even though the writers and TV reporters all know that right field is ridiculously hitter-friendly. They pointed to the estimated distance of the home run, 369 feet, and that it would have gone out of 26 of the 30 MLB ballparks.
White was the beneficiary of the short porch in the second game. His homer was estimated at 342 feet. It would have been a homer at only one other MLB ballpark (Minute Maid Park).
Here’s the thing: White’s homer landed one section closer to the right-field corner and was two rows shallower. The exit velocity was 10 mph less than Torres’ homer. The right-field wall at Yankee Stadium gradually moves away from home plate. The difference in the two estimated distances — emphasis on “estimated” — suggests a sharp increase in the span of one section.
This isn’t a breathless defense of Woodward, who should have known better. Maybe he hadn’t had a chance to look at the data in a between-games interview shortly after a walk-off loss.
He said Monday that his “Little League ballpark” comment was a joke. Loves going to Yankee Stadium, he said.
But right field is a short, balls fly out that would be caught at most ballparks, and the eye test doesn’t match the data.
That’s one way to do it. Enjoy, as I did multiple times. See you Wednesday.
Just a little off target…😏😂🥴🦮
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— Fred Schultz (@FredSchultz35) May 6, 2022
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org