The A’s announced Sunday, via MLB.com’s Jane Lee, that right-hander Sonny Gray will start on Opening Day, March 31, against the Indians.
He will be followed in the Oakland starting rotation by Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez, Dan Straily, and Tommy Milone — in that exact order.
Gray, 24, had a 2.67 ERA (140 ERA+), 1.019 WHIP, and 67 strikeouts in 64 innings last season. He then made two postseason starts, posting a 2.08 ERA and striking out 12 batters across 13 frames.
The 2014 Opening Day nod probably would have gone to Jarrod Parker, but he is out for the season after undergoing the second Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery of his career.
Chavez will be taking Parker’s spot, at least initially.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.