Yankees RHP Sonny Gray has been stellar on the road this season with a 2.83 ERA. When Gray throws in Yankee Stadium, though, that number rises drastically.
Gray entered his Wednesday night start against Nationals with a 7.22 ERA at home. And he didn't do much to make that number fall either.
In the top of the first, Gray let up back-to-back hits to Adam Eaton and Trea Turner who were sitting at the corners for Bryce Harper. Luckily, Gray dropped in a 3-2 curve ball to punch out Harper. Anthony Rendon, though, drove in the first run of the game with a sac fly to center field.
Gray continued to waste great pitcher's counts in the first inning as the Nats were patient hitters and fouled off many pitches to keep him working. The righty would end up throwing 34 pitches in the inning, and he credited the Nats' hitters.
"I felt like in the first innings, they put some really good at-bats together," Gray told YES Network's Meredith Marakovits after the game. "Fouled a lot of pitches off. I felt good after coming away in that inning with one."
Manager Aaron Boone also noted how Gray struggled to finish Washington's batters after getting them down with two strikes. It reminded him of last night when CC Sabathia had trouble closing out batters as well.
"Had a hard time in the first inning putting guys away," Boone said. "And his pitch count -- I think he was up to 34 and that kinda in a way did him in a little bit. It was just real hard for him all night. And again, a little bit similar to what CC went through last night. These guys really made it hard. They had really competitive at-bats throughout, fouled off a ton of pitches."
The second inning wasn't any better as Matt Adams singled and Juan Soto reached on a walk. But, once again, Gray got lucky as a line drive to second doubled off Adams for a quick two outs. Gray, then, picked off Soto at first to end the inning.
Gray was able to record another pick off as Turner was caught napping at first to end the third inning as well.
But, in the top of the fourth, Gray let up his 3-1 lead thanks to a three-run homer by Soto to left field. Soto's homer was the third base runner that came with two outs in the inning.
Gray didn't think anything was going to come of the hit.
"I thought it was a foul ball. I was kinda watching the hitter's reaction," he said. "I thought it was a foul ball, and then if it was fair, Gardy was gonna be able to make a play. Then it just kept carrying and kept carrying and that's just kinda how it goes."
Gray would complete his first perfect inning in the fifth, but that would be the end to his night. He would finish with four earned runs on seven hits, while striking out one and walking two over 89 pitches.
This was an entirely different Gray than the Yankees witnessed in Toronto in his previous start. He was lights out and had total control of his stuff on his way to eight shutout innings. Unfortunately, he didn't have that command over his arsenal tonight, which forced yet another disappointing home start.