Tigers vs. Athletics: Decisive Game 5 Pits The Rookie vs. The Veteran

By Brandon Rogers
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Sonny who? Many people are unaware of the talent coming from the Oakland Athletics. The 23 year old rookie out of Vanderbilt awed the nation throwing eight shutout innings in Game 2 at the Coliseum. Sonny Gray locked up the series for Oakland 1-1, giving the Athletics a shot to advance to the American League Championship Series. Gray threw for nine strikeouts and four hits ending in a no decision. The rookie made his postseason debut against the all-powerful Justin Verlander. Verlander pitched seven shutout innings, while Gray had eight. Luckily the Athletics pulled out a late ninth inning walk off single to defeat the Tigers 1-0. One thing is for sure, the Detroit Tigers are now aware of Sonny Gray.

Gray is the typical young prospect unnoticed by an array of MLB teams. Billy Beane has been using this “MoneyBall” theory for years now. The Athletics have had one of the lowest payrolls for years, yet they still seem to make a run to the postseason. This theory truly proves that you do not need a high salary team to win ball games. Sonny Gray is a $485,000 salary player compared to Verlander at $20 million! There is always a method to Billy Beane’s madness, but I am sure fans get tired of players leaving Oakland after a year or two. Many fans tend to think the Athletics are a farm league, cycling players in and out to better teams. The Athletics simply cannot afford many high paid players, yet year after year Billy Beane miraculously seems to form a contending team on the field.

Now the Athletics and Tigers clash in a rematch of Game 2, and Gray and Verlander will look to repeat their same outstanding performances. The Athletics could have picked the veteran Bartolo Colon to start in Game 5, but this is the playoffs and the hot hand receives the start. Gray has a 1.85 ERA in the last seven outings. Nonetheless, don’t be surprised to see Colon come on to relieve in a dramatic elimination game.

Sonny Gray will embark on his 12th career start and the biggest game of his life tonight in Oakland. This time around everything is on the line, win or go home.

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