If this was Sonny Gray’s final start in Oakland, it was a good one. Gray allowed just 2 earned runs in 6 innings while striking out 5 against the White Sox and in doing so, extends his string of consecutive quality starts to 3. Over the course of his previous 21 innings, he has allowed a total of just 4 earned runs.
He looked sharp and while he’s added velocity to his fastball this season, he had moments where he reared back and touched 95 today. If not for a lead-off walk to Todd Frazier in the 5th inning which was followed by a 2-run home run to Matt Davidson, his effort would have been quite a bit more impressive.
Apparently, he was also dealing with an illness today, as well.
Melvin says Gray was sick all day. Still went six strong.
— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) July 5, 2017
Gray says he was dealing with a little stomach issue today.
— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) July 5, 2017
Gray received quality run support today, including 3 consecutive singles by Jed Lowrie—the 7th time he’s had 3 or more hits in a game this season and although Rajai Davis had gotten on base at just a .263 clip coming in to today, he singled twice and made the most of his opportunities once he got aboard with 4 stolen bases. It’s the most stolen bases Rajai has collected in a game since July 28, 2013 when he stole 4 bases as a member of the Blue Jays. And of course, Jaycob Brugman added his second home run of the season with a 4th inning solo shot off Mike Pelfrey.
Matt Joyce led off the A’s half of the first inning against Mike Pelfrey with a lead-off double to left-center. Jed Lowrie followed with a single through the left side, moving Joyce to third base with no one out. Khris Davis grounded sharply up the middle on the second base side but was played to pull perfectly by the White Sox, who surrendered a run in exchange for the double play. 1-0 Oakland.
In the 3rd inning, Jed Lowrie’s 1-out single to right field got things started. Yonder Alonso’s 2-out walk moved Lowrie into scoring position and both were driven in when Bruce Maxwell, who walked in his first at-bat, doubled to deep left. 3-0 Oakland.
In the 4th inning, Jaycob Brugman ended Mike Pelfrey’s day with a solo home run to right-center. Pelfrey has now allowed 12 earned runs in his previous 13 innings pitched–2 of the 3 outings of which were against the A’s. Oakland wasn’t done, though, as Rajai Davis greeted incoming right-hander Gregory Infante with a single to right field and then on consecutive pitches to Matt Joyce, Rajai stole both second and third base. Matt Joyce eventually walked and promptly stole second before Jed Lowrie’s 3rd consecutive single to shallow center scored both to make it 6-0 Oakland.
Chicago finally broke through in the 5th inning when Matt Davidson hit a 2-run home run off Gray after Sonny walked Todd Frazier to lead off the inning. 6-2 Oakland.
The A’s tallied their final run in the 8th inning when Bruce Maxwell, who walked, scored on a wild pitch. 7-2 Oakland.
The White Sox added the two-run home run by Todd Frazier in the top of the 9th inning off Sean Doolittle to make it 7-4 Oakland.
After 3 dominating performances by Gray that happen to lead into 9 days of rest heading into his next scheduled start on June 14th vs. Cleveland, this might be the perfect time to strike a deal. Although the White Sox and Braves were playing well upon meeting the A’s, they’re still the White Sox and they’re still the Braves. Allowing Sonny to pitch against a much better Indians lineup will either expose him as he was against better lineups earlier this season or maybe, just maybe, give the A’s the opportunity to showcase his current dominance against one of the better lineups in baseball. I suppose we’ll see how the cards unfold.