Wednesday afternoon, Joe Girardi announced 27-year-old right-hander Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 ERA), who was the Yankees prized acquisition at this year’s deadline, will get the ball for game one where he will matchup against Trevor Bauer (17-9, 4.19 ERA). Veteran lefty CC Sabathia will go in game two against AL Cy Young favorite Corey Kluber, followed by Masahiro Tanaka in game three, and Luis Severino in a possible game four at Yankee Stadium.
For Gray, who was acquired from the A’s in exchange for top prospects Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo, and James Kaprelian, this is an opportunity for him to officially give the Yankees and their fans a sense of what they really got at the deadline, and if Gray can perform under the pressure of the postseason as a Yankee. In 11 starts since donning the pinstripes, he has pitched to a 4-7 record, with a decent 3.72 ERA over 65 ⅓ innings. He has been faltered by a consistent lack of run support, which can explain the record that has him three games under .500 as a Yankee, and two under for the season. Overall, Gray has been just decent, which considering the haul Oakland received for him, isn’t really on par with what fans should expect from the former first-round draft pick. However, this is Gray’s shot at a turnaround, to go out and outduel Trevor Bauer and jumpstart the Yankees to a 1-0 series lead going into Friday night against Kluber.
No one is really sure what Sonny Gray is at this point. He has shown Cy Young seasons with impressive 2014-2015 campaigns where he pitched to ERA’s of 3.08 and 2.73 respectively, but just one year later seeing it climb to 5.69 in an injury-riddled season in 2016. After what is sure a bounce-back season that could see him gather a few “Comeback Player of the Year’ votes, he needs to justify the Yankees going out and dealing for him, and game one is just the opportunity he needs.
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