Josiah Gray pitched six innings on the mound at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, allowing just one run on five hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts, dropping from a 5.02 ERA that year to 3.91. did. With 28 starts and 148 2⁄3 Last season, he made his first full-year pitching in the majors.
Gray, 25, hit the game’s seventh pitch, a 2-2 slider, low and inside the corner, allowing Gunnar Henderson to hit a solo home run. baltimore oriolesThe 22-year-old 2019 second-round pick hit a 400-footer into the right-field seats for his 28th home run of 2023, his 22nd home run off Gray in 159 IP in 30 starts this season.1.25 HR/9 this year, down from 2.30 HR/9 in 2022).
But Washington’s starting pitcher stuck with it, having a two-out single in the second inning, a two-out hit in the third, and a leadoff walk and single in the fifth, with Henderson striking out and O’s Aldie Rutschman hitting. The 25-year-old 2019 first-round pick hit a grounder in his 5-6-3 DP to end the inning and end the home half of the inning.
Gray returned to the mound in the sixth inning with 86 pitches and avoided a two-out walk on 12 pitches to end the outing.
The Nationals’ right-handed starter had 14 strikeouts (Throws 5 sinkers, 5 curveballs, 39% and 21% of the time, respectively, 3 cutters (19%), 1 changeup (6%))14 were also called strikes, (six of them on his sinker, four on his curveball, two on his cutter, and one each on his slider and sweeper).
Managers and catchers were impressed with Gray’s use of the changeup, and even if he used it sparingly, it was a standout changeup for Martinez and Keibert Lewis.
He pitched just 1.4% of the time in his first 29 games, but he pitched a little more often, getting a swinging K from Henderson and a hit-by-pitch double play from Lutchman.
“Man, if he can get that pitch out there, that’s going to help him a lot,” Martinez said after the game.
“He was attacking batters early in the count,” Lewis told reporters. In important moments, he really caught Lutchman’s double play and the leadoff batter’s strikeout. [Henderson], but I think his big pitch tonight was his changeup. ”
“He did really well,” Martinez added. “We used all of his pitches. Changeup, he threw a really good changeup today.
“But his fastball was great. It was electric today. I’m proud of him. He finished the season really strong and I think we can carry that into next year.”
“That’s what we’ve been looking for all year. To do that. [Henderson] and Rutschman both did a great job of hitting into double plays. ”
It was definitely a positive end to Gray’s second full major league season.
“I think you can always finish a strong game,” he said. I feel like I could check that box.We’ve had some good outings the last few outings, but I know some of the changes we’ve made in the last three outings are definitely different, so this time we’re obviously in a fun mood going into the offseason. [bred] result.
“So I’m looking forward to focusing on those things, having a positive offseason, and coming back from there next year.”
Martinez said this start was an example of where he thought Gray could perform at his best.
“I think tonight summed up who I am as a pitcher,” Martinez explained. “I was able to get ground balls when I wanted them. The contact becomes weaker. I minimize the damage. I work on one or two walks.
“Getting strikeouts when it counts. That’s the pitcher I know I can be. It’s just about being consistent with that.”
Despite a strong 2023, the Nats’ captain said the starter has a lot of room to improve going forward.
“He’s still young. He’s still learning,” Martinez said. “He’s learning a lot about himself. He’s learning a lot about what he can and can’t do. But I think in the future he’s going to be a guy to watch. I know. I’m not just talking about the short term, I’m talking about the long term. With him, we have a chance to win here and get back to where we need to be. I think it’s about making the playoffs.”
“It’s been a good year,” Gray said, acknowledging there is room for growth.
“We know there’s still a lot of work to do.”
What’s next for Gray?
“That’s what I saw today,” Martinez said. “Really. I think he can repeat every five days what you saw today. And now, like I said, this is great for him, especially how he uses his changeup, how he uses his fastball, It should give him confidence in his grasp of fastball location. This is a big step forward for him and like I said, it’s going to be great to come home this winter and develop that further.”