Once again, the ace-like stuff that the Yankees expect from Sonny Gray showed its face on Wednesday night in a shutout performace against the Orioles. And this performance couldn't have come at a better time for the young righty.
Gray, who has been struggling mightily of late, was going up against the worst team in baseball in Baltimore. Some believed this start to be the last straw for the 28-year-old given the O's 26-66 record entering the game. If Gray coughed up a hitting clinic, the Yankees may have had to reasses their options.
Luckily for Gray, his arsenal was deadly this time around, giving up only three hits while striking out eight over six innings. But, Yankee fans, we've seen this movie play out before. Gray has a dominant start, but can't sustain that success over a longer stretch.
A perfect example of that was Gray's eight-inning, two-hit shutout against the Blue Jays on June 6 that was followed up by a seven-hit, four-run performance over five innings against the Nationals at home.
Before this outing, Gray couldn't make it through three innings in his previous two starts. Though last night was a step in the right direction Gray realizes he has more to prove.
"It's one start," he told The Post's George A. King III. "I felt good coming into it and better coming out of it."
His catcher, Austin Romine, said it was the "best I have seen" from Gray this season. His fastball command to go along with his nasty curveball was the difference maker, but has been something Gray has been inconsistent with.
"It was good for our team and good for Sonny. He threw the ball good all game," said Greg Bird, who had a grand slam in the fifth inning.
Starts like this from Gray, though, must be taken with caution. Consistency is what the Yankees and their fans want to see from him, and he must show that first before one can officially say he turned the corner.
But Orioles manager Buck Showalter had some words of encouragement after the game for Gray. He thinks he's too good to continue putting up duds on in his box score.
"Tonight I thought he was carrying a little extra fastball, [it] had a lot of late life," Showalter said. "Breaking ball was better. You could tell he was a different guy out there tonight. Sonny Gray [is] too good a pitcher to stay where he was all year. Thought he looked strong."
Hopefully those words from the former Yankees manager comes to fruition.