At 55-73, the Oakland Athletics don’t really have much to play for in the final 34 games of the season, and while they did pull of some big comebacks recently, they also dropped some strange games against the Seattle Mariners this week. You have to wonder where the collective head of the team is right now as the calendar approaches September. One team goal, however, should be to try to get the American League Cy Young Award into starting pitcher Sonny Gray’s hands.
When Gray (12-5, 2.10 ERA) takes the mound tonight at 6:40 p.m. at Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he does so with the A’s best chance at a Cy Young win in years. Oakland takes on Chase Anderson (6-5, 4.28), and as a team, the A’s should always be at their best in support of Gray. He represents one of the only shining lights left in the 2015 Oakland season.
Gray leads the AL in ERA, WHIP and opponents’ batting average, and the A’s bullpen cost him at least another five wins—which would give Gray the AL lead in wins, too. As it is, the Oakland ace is in a fight for the top spot in the league in the sabermetric Wins-Above-Replacement category. It’s really down to Houston Astro lefty Dallas Keuchel and Gray for the Cy Young Award now, and every outing for Gray becomes very important in the eyes of voters.
The Diamondbacks (62-65) have the fourth-best offense in the majors, in terms of runs scored. That will present a challenge for Gray in a ballpark where he’s never pitched before—against a team he’s never faced, either. Here’s to hoping the A’s staff has given Gray a good scouting report and that the Oakland team plays its best ball behind him tonight in the desert. Center fielder Billy Burns also has an outside shot at the AL Rookie of the Year Award, but it’s really Gray who is the face of the franchise now.
Here are tonight’s game tidbits from the A’s media staff:
- The A’s are 8-6 in interleague play and are batting .277 (132-for-477) in those games, which is the fourth-best interleague average. Oakland is averaging five runs per game (70 runs in 14 games), which is tied for fourth best.
- Billy Burns leads MLB rookies in stolen bases (25) and multiple-hit games (37), and he leads AL rookies in hits (123) and total bases (162).
- Mark Canha is batting .353 (24-for-68) with 10 runs, seven doubles, a triple, two home runs, 13 RBI and seven multiple-hit games over his past 18 contests.
- Brett Lawrie has a seven-game hitting streak and is batting .481 (13-for-27) with three doubles, two home runs and five RBI over that span.