This is the dominant Sonny Gray the Yankees envisioned when they traded for him last season.
Gray was absolutely lights out in his start against the Blue Jays Wednesday night, tossing eight shutout innings. He began his outing with four perfect frame, setting down 12 straight batters with five strikeouts coming in those innings.
Gray was going directly at hitters, not wasting any time with his pitches. He admitted using that mindset has been the game plan recently.
"Same plan again: come in, attack guys and kinda see what happens," Gray told YES Network about his game plan heading into the start.
In the fifth inning, though, Gray found himself in a jam after Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales had back-to-back hits. With runners on the corners and no outs, Gray was thankfully bailed out due to bad baserunning as Smoak broke toward home on a Kevin Pillar gronder to Miguel Andujar at third. Andujar threw a strike to home, keeping the game scoreless.
After walking Russell Martin, Gray induced a groundball to start a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the inning.
That was the only scare of the night for Gray, who didn't allow a hit after the fifth. He would cruise from the sixth inning on, collecting three more strikeouts.
Gray would leave the game with a no-decision as the scoreboard continued to show zeros in the run column. Overall, he allowed no runs on two hits while striking out eight and walking two in 99 pitches. It was the second time this season that Gray went eight innings, with his last coming in Kansas City on May 20.
Manager Aaron Boone noted that Gray has impressed in three of his last four starts now, and he said it was only a matter of time before he broke out. His arsenal on the mound has always been there, but command has been the key of late.
"Yeah, I think now probably three out of four times where he's been really good," Boone said. "I think he's built some confidence over the last month with some of the work he's done on the side. The stuff's been there pretty much all along, but we're starting to see the execution now."
In Gray's last start against the Orioles, he allowed just one solo homer over six innings of work to earn the win. Now that he put together his best outing as a Yankee, Boone is confident this success won't be short-lived for Gray.
"I'll keep saying it: When he gets ahead, he's really tough because he's weapons to put these guys away."
Even Aaron Judge, who put the Yankees on the board in the 13th inning with a two-run homer, knows that Gray's stuff is electric when he can put it in the strike zone. In fact, it's unhittable in his eyes.
"The stuff's always been there It's still early in the season and Sonny is one of our best pitchers. Just the way he commands the ball. His stuff - it's unhittable. You saw it tonight what he was able to do…"