Just imagine if Mr. Sonny Gray went to work seven miles to the south east of Yankee Stadium. After a performance like this tonight, in the A’s 10-5 win over the Yankees, how would you think his 2-3 record with a 6.39 ERA would go over if he played for the Mets.
“Send him to the bullpen!”
“Trade him to Cincinnati for a catcher!”
You get the drift.
Fortunately for Gray, he doesn’t play in Queens, but in the Bronx, where their 26-12 record, affords a more patient approach for the former Oakland A’s pitcher.
“I feel good in my stuff,” Gray said after giving up five runs this evening. “I think I threw the ball okay, but they put some good hits on them.”
Okay, that works for the occasional start, but Gray, who was the Yankees big pickup at the deadline was not expected to be a No. 5 starter, but more of a No. 2 or No. 3 guy in the rotation.
Right now, he hasn’t been that.
Yet, that doesn’t mean the Yankees should get rid of him. Because of that lineup, Gray just needs to keep the Yankees in games. They don’t need ace like stuff from him, but someone who can make sure the game doesn’t get out of control.
Tonight, he had a chance to do that, since the Yankees had their chances on the bases. On most other teams, a five-run spot would be the kiss of death for the club.
“I had no issue with his stuff,” said manager Aaron Boone. “He competed and got us through five and allow us to hang around enough.”
Sadly, that’s what Gray has become, an innings eater who is looked upon to give his team a chance.
The Yankees though need that. The Yankees aren’t going to win 120 games this year. A number closer to 100 makes more sense. Their talent level states they have the ability to come back from large deficits and their rotation is classically designed.
Gray falls to the No. 4 guy right now, but that’s with Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia healthy. If any of these players go down, then it’s up to Gray to step up his game.
So now, he needs to work on it and become the pitcher, Cashman traded for last season. Right now, he has the luxury to work out his problems in the rotation, because the Yankees can absorb the effort.
Eventually the Yankees are going to need a better effort. The 17-1 run masked several issues on the club. Now they lost two in a row. Things even out.
And the Yankees will need Sonny Gray to be more than the forgotten back of the rotation guy sometime before the end of the year. Or maybe those Queens cheers will move to the Bronx.