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April 29, 2014

What You Need to Know

Gray Matters

by Daniel Rathman


The Monday Takeaway
First innings have been a bear for Athletics ace Sonny Gray this season. Coming into his start at Globe Life Park on Monday, Gray had issued six walks and recorded four strikeouts in the opening frame of his first four starts; his K:BB ratio thereafter was a solid 27-to-7.

The 24-year-old continued that trend against the Rangers, falling behind 3-0 to leadoff man Michael Choice and eventually giving him a free pass to first. But two batters and six pitches later, Prince Fielder grounded into a double play. The first inning was over. And with that goose egg on the board, the Vanderbilt product never looked back.

Gray scattered three hits, all of them singles, and one hit batter the rest of the way in the 4-0 win. He recorded 13 ground-ball outs and fanned six, four of them on his curveball, which impressed Adrian Beltre in the fourth inning. The right-hander was cruising so comfortably, he decided to mix in pitches that his manager forgot existed:

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