When Sonny Gray gave up four consecutive hits Saturday, Sean Doolittle could empathize.
When A’s starter Sonny Gray gave up four consecutive hits in the third inning Saturday, manager Bob Melvin said it was shocking.
“You don’t expect Sonny to give up two consecutive hits,’’ the manager said, “much less four.’’
Sean Doolittle could appreciate the moment. It was back on April 26 when the A’s left-handed reliever entered a game in Houston with the A’s and Astros tied at 3-all in the bottom of the eighth.
Single, single, single, single. Just like that Doolittle, who had an ERA at the time of 3.09, just about doubled it to 6.17, giving up four runs without getting anyone out. To make matters worse, the A’s scored three runs in the ninth and had the tying run on base before taking a 7-6 loss.
That game was like a taser to Doolittle’s pitching strategy.
A’s Sonny Gray en route to three-hit shutout of Rangers last week.
Red Sox manager John Farrell has not seen A’s starter Sonny Gray pitch in person.
A few hours from now, he won’t be able to say that. Gray starts for the first time Sunday afternoon (10:30 a.m. in the Bay Area) in Fenway Park. Even without having seen Gray, Farrell talks like he knows the second-year Oakland starter is the real deal.
“He’s a guy that’s got very good stuff,’’ Farrell said Sunday morning. “He’s going to be in the low- to mid-90s (mph) and with a very good curveball. And from what we’ve come to understand, he’s a very confident young pitcher that’s gotten to the big leagues quick.
“He pitched in a very advanced program at Vanderbilt and he doesn’t back away from or fear the Major League challenge. That’s evident by the numbers that he’s put up this year.’’
After never having caught Scott Kazmir, John Jaso found working with the lefty easy as could be.
John Jaso didn’t know for certain that he was catching Sunday until a few hours before the game.
He was told Saturday night that he might, so he was prepared, but since he’d never caught Scott Kazmir, he couldn’t be sure.
“Not even for a stretch in batting practice,’’ Jaso said. “I’ve never caught him. And I was lucky, because Scott is so easy to catch. Now if it had been Sonny Gray, that would have been different.’’
Sonny Gray is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts after Saturday’s win
Sonny Gray has only made 13 big league starts. three of them this year.
He commands the game as if he’d made 130.
Once again the A’s 24-year-old was the best pitcher on the field Saturday, throwing seven innings of one-run ball, giving up a first-inning run then almost nothing else in what Gray called “my best game of the year.’’
What he didn’t say was “so far.’’
Dan Straily enjoying being part of the brotherhood of A’s starters
Dan Straily says there’s a reason the A’s starting pitching keeps getting better.
With Straily throwing seven one-run innings Thursday in a 6-1 win over the Twins, Oakland starters have allowed three runs or fewer in all nine of their games this year. The last time they did that, 1990, they wound up in the World Series.
It’s way too early to be thinking such lofty thoughts now, but the fact is that while pitching is a very individual pursuit, the A’s starting corps of Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez and Straily – No. 5 starter Tommy Milone makes his debut Friday in Seattle – have a nice bond.
A’s catcher John Jaso got his first taste of the new home plate collision rules in the sixth inning Monday vs. Cleveland
Baseball is trying to reinvent the game, or at least smooth out some of the rough spots, and in Monday night’s opener between the A’s and the Indians, it’s clear that there is still a ways to go.
To combat the spate of concussions and severe injuries that have come from collisions at home plate, the rulebook has been rescripted to make sure the base runner has access to the plate.
However, changing the rule and making the rule second nature are not the same thing. In the sixth inning Monday A’s starter Sonny Gray picked up a deflected grounder and threw the ball to catcher John Jaso.
Sonny Gray is the last man standing in drive to start opener for the A’s
Sonny Gray got the job that just about everyone but Sonny Gray expected him to get when A’s manager Bob Melvin named him the opening day starter.
Gray will be followed in the rotation by Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone.
The opening day start was expected originally to go to Jarrod Parker, but the competition opened up when it was learned that Parker will miss the season and undergo tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery.
Even with Parker, Gray was considered a contender for the opening day assignment by manager Bob Melvin, who isn’t afraid of putting the 24-year-old in the spotlight.
Last year in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, Melvin went with Gray over 18-game winner Bartolo Colon, and while the A’s lost that game, it wasn’t because Gray didn’t pitch well.
“He’s very quickly become one of those guys,’’ Melvin said of Gray, who was 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA after his promotion to the big leagues last year and then pitched eight shutout innings in Game 2 of the playoffs against Detroit before taking the 3-0 loss in Game 5.
Sonny Gray came to the A’s as someone with an intricate knowledge of the strike zone.
He’s going to strike out a few, as was the case Friday in a 3-0 loss to the Giants in Scottsdale when he fanned seven in 5.2 innings and walked just one.
He could use a little more help from his defense when he doesn’t register the K. Three times A’s infielder butchered plays, one each by shortstop Jed Lowrie, second baseman Nick Punto and first baseman Brandon Moss.
Sonny Gray is the last man standing in drive to start opener for the A’s March 31.
Nothing is official, but the A’s have an opening day starting pitcher.
His name is Sonny Gray.
The 24-year-old, with just 10 big league starts to his name, was being considered for the job all along, but it seemed likely the call would go to Jarrod Parker or, perhaps, newcomer Scott Kazmir.
Parker is out for the season with the news that he needs a second Tommy John-style ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow and forearm.
As for Kazmir, he was scratched from his start Monday because of triceps pain. He was pain-free Tuesday and wanted to pitch, but the A’s have decided that he’ll throw a bullpen session, probably Wednesday, then return to the starting rotation Saturday.
That rules him out for the opener, because to get to March 31 against the Indians, he’d either have to pitch on long rest or on short rest. The A’s aren’t going to have him do that for the sake of one game, so that leaves Gray to pitch the opener and Kazmir to follow him in Game 2 against Cleveland, the team for which he pitched last year.
A’s left-handed starter Tommy Milone wants to prove himself worthy of starting berth
Ask Tommy Milone, and he’ll tell you nothing has changed.
Ask Bob Melvin, and he’ll say nothing has change for Milone.
That’s true, to a point. But with the A’s having definitely lost starter A.J. Griffin from the opening day roster and very likely soon to get similar news about the man who was to have been the likely opening day starter in Jarrod Parker, everything has changed.
Milone was looking at being the sixth man in a five-man rotation, stuck behind Parker, Griffin, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Dan Straily. Now he could be the fourth man in the rotation.
It depends on how he does the final few weeks of the spring. From possibly being on the outside looking in no matter what, he’s in a position to grab a starting job just by pitching his best.