This past weekend Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced that Sonny Gray will start against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, September 11th. This will be only the second time Sonny Gray has started a game for the Yankees since August 1st.
With two off days coming up on Thursday and next Monday, Boone feels “it buys everybody a little bit of rest at this time of the [year].” The move also lines up Yankees ace Luis Severino to face the Boston Red Sox two more times this season.
However, there is a silver lining to all of this. Gray will be able to demonstrate to his team that he is in fact an effective starting pitcher.
Sure, the start will come against the Twins, a team the Yankees have absolutely owned for as far back as I can remember. BUT tell that to Gray, who faced the Twins at home on April 25th and couldn’t get past the fifth inning, allowing 6H, 5BB, and 3ER. That day, he also threw a season-high 104 pitches.
Make no bones about it, Grays numbers have been atrocious this season. Gray starts warming up to come into a game, and the Yankee Universe goes into code red.
But what if I were to tell you that Sonny Gray might be the Yankees’ knight in shining armor?
Sounds crazy, right?
This chart will serve as the single reason why I think Gray is the best option to start a game for the Yankees… in away games.
What you’re looking at are the away splits for Yankees starting pitchers that have pitched 50 or more away innings this season. Sonny Gray’s stats are highlighted and the green indicates which Yankees pitcher leads in that individual category.
Sonny Gray doesn’t look so bad compared to his teammates in this chart, right? In fact, all of his stats in this chart, except for IP and BB9, are in bold because he ranks TOP THREE of the six pitchers on this list. Even more, Gray is a TOP TWO pitcher in ERA, R, ER, SO9, and HR9.
No other pitcher, except for J.A. Happ is better than Gray in away games for the Yankees.
Gray’s home/away splits are so glaring, you almost have to wonder if you should ever pitch him at home again.
He literally compares to Zack Greinke in away games. At home? Martin Pérez or worse.
So, why is Gray set up to play hero for the Yankees moving forward?
The Yankees are currently set up to be a Wild Card team, which means that they don’t have home field advantage in either the ALDS or the ALCS. This means that if the Yankees win their Wild Card game, they may potentially have to play FIVE games at home and SEVEN games away.
If we go solely by splits, this could be the potential postseason rotation for the Yankees:
At this point, I’m starting to think that I do sound crazy.
WORD COUNT: 499
We talk about Boone’s decision to start Gray on the latest episode of the podcast. Check it out HERE!
Sonny Gray Photo, MLB.com