The Oakland Athletics are taking a huge chance starting rookie pitcher Sonny Gray in Game 2 of the American League Divisional Series against the Detroit Tigers. It is not as if Gray has not earned the opportunity that has been presented to him. It is more of the fact that his first career postseason start will be on the road against none other than Justin Verlander. Regardless, the Athletics will need Gray to work his rookie magic and be flawless in the contest.
The 23-year-old was fantastic in his last six starts of the season in which he recorded four wins in the process. Oakland is clearly hoping that his success will continue right into the postseason.
Obviously, it is a huge spot to be put in for the youngster, especially since falling two games down to the Tigers is definitely where no team wants to be in the playoffs. However, Gray appears to be wise beyond his years and pitches with experience that he has yet to earn. He has prepared his entire life for this moment, which is something that cannot be ignored.
“It’s something you really look forward to, growing up, and hopefully someday you get a chance to do it,” Gray said, according to Athletics.com. “Fortunately for me, this is my second, maybe third month in the big leagues and I’m getting to start a playoff game. There are a lot of guys in this game who said they wished they’d gotten the opportunity and they just haven’t been on a playoff team. I’m very fortunate and I’m just going to try and go out there and make the most of it.”
Gray’s confidence is something that Oakland is counting on Saturday night. More importantly, he does not fully understand the pressure of the situation. Obviously, the playoffs are huge and it is a big moment to be in. However, Gray could very well approach it just like it is any other game, which would allow him to play without the weight of the situation crushing him.
Gray went 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 12 appearances (10 starts) this season.