Sonny Gray’s pitching line of 4-4 with a 4.81 ERA is not impressive, but he’s been better since sporting a 7.71 ERA through his first five starts.
Gray, who is tonight’s starter against the Nationals, pitched a gem in Kansas City giving up one run on four hits over eight innings in a late May start.
He pitched poorly against the Angels, giving up five runs and not making it out of the fourth inning in a drubbing at the hands of the Angels on national TV.
But he’s pitched well in two starts since. He beat Baltimore, giving up one run on four hits in six innings. In his most recent start, Gray shutout the Blue Jays in two hits over eight innings, a game the Yankees would win in 13.
What is different for Gray since his early season struggles?
“The way he’s attacking the strike zone early in the count,” Boone said. “But I feel like he’s not trying to be perfect. I feel like he’s getting the game plan they put together and going out and now just trusting it, attacking the strike zone, and as he gets ahead in the count, the stuff’s been there all year, I feel like, and now when he’s ahead in the count he has the weapons to put guys away.”
Gray, a former All-Star with Oakland, was acquired from the A’s last season to boost the hopes of a World Series chase. Now, his importance to the Yankees has increased as Masahiro Tanaka is on the Disabled List, and Jordan Montgomery will miss the rest of the season. Luis Severino has been the ace but the onus is on the other starters. CC Sabathia has been the stopper (not that he has many losing streaks to stop in 2018) but doesn’t pitch deep into games.
All the hand-wringing about Gray and the need to add another starter, Gray can at least make the Yankees feel a little more comfortable about where they are with the rotation.