Mancuso: Time For Sonny Gray To Shine In The Bronx

Now is the time for Sonny Gray to shine in the Bronx. Tuesday night he gets the important start as the Yankees attempt to even this best-of-seven ALCS, and a crucial game is why the Yankees acquired the righthander. After six scoreless innings from CC Sabathia Monday night the question is can Gray help get the Yankees even?

But since that trade  from Oakland at the deadline, Sonny Gray has not been that model of a postseason pitcher. And with CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, and Luis Severino all helping the Yankees to get where they are, it can’t be as they say a “Grey Night in the Bronx.”

These are the Houston Astros and they know how to rebound. They did not get to this ALCS by luck, or by not scoring runs, They led the league in runs scored and Gray in five starts at Yankee Stadium with his new team recorded a 5.65 ERA.

More disturbing was giving up the home run ball, eight in 28 ⅔ innings.  You can’t do that against these Astros who can also hit one out of the park and to all parts of the field. The one advantage could be Gray is working on 12-days rest and had plenty of time to assess what he has to accomplish.

He has has over two week to work on things, or he can be rusty. The Yankees are hoping they can get the real Sonny Gray Tuesday night.In essence, it is Gray and with a start that by all means says, the biggest one of his career.

“Yeah I’ve been able to sit back and watch a couple of games and watch another one tonight,” he said Monday afternoon. “I know these guys pretty well. I think they know me pretty well. I’ve faced them quite a bit.”

Advantage to Sonny Gray because he knows the Astros.  Yankees GM Brian Cashman needed that extra arm, perhaps with a view of October because of this: A career 3.09 ERA with 45 strikeouts and four home runs allowed in 58 ⅓ innings in nine starts.  Carlos Correa and George Springer are a combined 5-for-32.

Against Jose Altuve, the AL MVP favorite, 11-for-30 with a double. And like Cashman does so well year-after-year, Sonny Gray was wearing Yankees pinstripes at the trade deadline in late July. And more so, the significant game that can take this series back to Houston for a Game 6.

“They’ve got a lineup that will continue to put pressure on an opposing team, opposing defense, opposing pitcher, “ Gray said. “It keeps some guys off the bases and limit the damage and you can do pretty well against them.”

But can Gray do it? Will this be an even series heading to Game 4 Wednesday night in the Bronx?  Manager Joe Girardi looks for Gray to provide some innings and also get ahead in the count.

“I know these guys pretty well,” Gray said. “A lot of the same guys. Faced them quite a bit. It’s going to be a good challenge tomorrow and one that I’m ready for.”  And you can bet on this, if Gray does not have the fastball working or the secondary pitches, it will be a short outing.

There is no room for the Yankees to overcome a large deficit, even though they have done this many times before in this season of the unexpected that was supposed to be a year of rebuilding.

Yes, time for Sonny Gray to shine tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium. If not  then this deep run In October would come to a sudden end.

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso


About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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