Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin is struggling to decide who to start Game 5 of the American League Division Series. In my opinion, the Athletics would be foolish not to start rookie Sonny Gray over Bartolo Colon.
I understand why Oakland is having a hard time with the decision. It is certainly a huge moment for the Athletics. The best bet might be to start a veteran who has plenty of postseason experience. Clearly, the thought process is that Colon could better handle the pressure because he has been in several big moments in the playoffs.
With that being said, Gray proved to be plenty capable in the spotlight. He went up against Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander in Game 2 and came out unscathed. In fact, he allowed just four hits through eight innings. There is no question Game 5 will bring a different atmosphere. However, the fact that it will be played in Oakland, just like Game 2 was, should certainly help calm Gray’s nerves.
Gray showed great confidence down the stretch in the regular season, and he blew people away in his first-career postseason start. He is clearly the hot hand that the Athletics must ride if they want to go clinch an ALCS berth.
If Melvin is having a hard time deciding who to go with, one theory that has been brought up by several members of the team is that Oakland could use both pitchers in Wednesday’s contest.
“We feel great with either one of them, and maybe at some point we get both of them in there,” Josh Reddick said, according to Athletics.com. “It’s a game where, you win, you keep going. If you lose, you go home, so you can’t leave anything out there. Maybe we get them to piggyback each other.”
If that is the way to go, I still recommend the Athletics use Gray as the starter.