After five very poor starts, it was time for the A’s to put Gray on the DL
Sunday the Oakland Athletics announced that Sonny Gray has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right trapezius. Daniel Coulombe has been called-up from Triple-A Nashville to replace Gray on the roster.
It’s unclear whether Coulombe, who has spent most of his time as a reliever, will start in Gray’s place, if the A’s are hoping that Henderson Alvarez will be able to be activated from the disabled list in time to start in place of Gray or if more roster changes are going to be made in the coming days.
What Gray’s deal is this year is unclear as well. Gray’s troubles began back on April 27 in Detroit. He threw 25 pitches in the first inning and allowed four runs to score on 40 pitches in the second inning. He was then removed from the game by manager Bob Melvin. It was the shortest outing of Gray’s career. If the team had been smart they would have put him on the disabled list a month ago.
Gray’s career had been one without issue. Brought up by the team in July 2013, Gray started two games in the ALDS that year and helped lead the team to a what was a third straight playoff appearance in 2014.
Despite the team’s 68-94 record in 2015, Gray was still voted third in the running for the AL Cy Young Award. He still has not even pitched full three big-league seasons. Gray has always been the epitome of consistency and shown grace under pressure.
In 2015 he finished the season having made his first career All-Star appearance, while posting a 2.73 ERA, a 1.082 WHIP and having pitched three complete games, two of which were shutouts.
Gray’s practically perfect performance from July 2013 right up to the disastrous start in Detroit made his issues keeping the ball in the strike zone that much more perplexing.
In four starts between April 2 and April 22, Gray posted a 2.73 ERA, allowed two home runs and pitched into or through the seventh inning three times. He pitched a total of 26.1 innings over than span.
Beginning in Detroit and in his four starts since then, Gray has pitched just 21.2 total innings, allowing six home runs and posting a 10.38 ERA. Over those five starts, he pitched into the seventh inning only once, and in that start he allowed seven earned runs.
Obviously, something was not and is still not right with the A’s 26-year-old ace. It could be physical, however the A’s statements regarding Gray were, up until this morning, that Gray had “no health issues.” When questioned by the media about his recent struggles, Gray has simply said, “I don’t know.”
For more on this story and what could be the real problem behind Sonny’s struggles this season, you can read the remainder of my column on Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below: