We finally have an answer to the question of who the A’s will start in their decisive ALDS Game 5 against the Tigers on Thursday evening at O.Co Coliseum.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that it will be 23-year-old Sonny Gray rather than veteran Bartolo Colon. Gray had a 2.67 ERA in 64 regular-season innings and hurled eight scoreless innings in the A’s Game 2 win. Colon posted a 2.65 ERA in 190 1/3 regular-season innings — a much larger sample size — but the Tigers tagged him for three runs on 10 hits in his six-inning Game 1 defeat.
The winner of Thursday’s ALDS Game 5 will face the Red Sox in the best-of-seven ALCS.
Detroit will be starting ace right-hander Justin Verlander against Oakland.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.