Sonny Gray after strong start: 'I'm one of the best starting pitchers in this league'

New York Yankees starter Sonny Gray has had a tough go of it in 2018. Through 26 games, Gray has a 5.05 ERA. Those numbers caused the Yankees to move him to the bullpen.

But Saturday offered hope that Gray can turn things around. The 28-year-old turned in a vintage start against the Baltimore Orioles, giving up just three hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings. Gray struck out seven and walked one.

Sonny Gray says he’s “one of the best starting pitchers” after strong start

That performance had Gray feeling encouraged. Following the start, Gray said he believes he’s “one of the best starting pitchers in this league.”


An encouraging performance for Sonny Gray

While the start came against the Orioles, it was still encouraging for Gray to turn in a dominant performance. The right-hander has struggled mightily during his first full season in New York. His strikeout rate is slightly down while his walk rate has shot up. Coming into the start, Gray had given up 124 hits in 113 innings.

Sonny Gray’s statement does carry some truth

Gray hasn’t pitched like it in 2018, but he’s shown the ability to be among the top starters in the league. From 2013 to 2015, Gray posted a 2.88 ERA over 491 innings. Last season with the Oakland Athletics, Gray had a 3.43 ERA over 16 starts.

At 28, there’s no reason to think he’s suddenly lost his ability. The potential for Gray to at least get back to his first-half numbers from 2017 exists.

What happens with Sonny Gray and the Yankees moving forward?

Gray only started Saturday because the Yankees had a double-header. His previous four appearances came out of the bullpen.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone indicated Gray would return to the bullpen despite Saturday’s performance.

Getting Gray back to normal would go a long way toward helping the Yankees in the postseason. If he can continue to build on the performance in his next couple appearances, it’s possible Gray will get another chance to prove himself in the rotation before the end of the season.

Sonny Gray was encouraged after his strong start Saturday. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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