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Sonny Gray
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Baseball Daily Dose

Gray Matter

by Ryan Boyer
Updated On: August 27, 2019, 1:30 am ET

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It’s unusual for a team to sign a player to a contract extension before that player has actually played for them. It’s even more peculiar when that player was coming off a season when he posted a 4.90 ERA.

The Reds have to be pretty happy that they took a bit of a leap of faith on Sonny Gray.

Gray moved to 10-6 with a win over the Marlins on Monday as he held Miami to two runs over six innings of work. He walked five batters but permitted just two hits and struck out six along the way in the Reds’ 6-3 victory.

In 10 starts since the beginning of July, Gray has posted a microscopic 1.59 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 79/26 K/BB ratio over 62 1/3 innings. Yes, he’s walked too many during that stretch, but when you’ve given up a mere 34 hits across 62 1/3 frames you’re able to get away with it.

While Gray’s control hasn’t been great this season, he’s made up for it with a 10.6 K/9 rate that blows anything else he’d previously done out of the water. He has three double-digit strikeout games over his last 10 starts. In the first six seasons of his career he had four double-digit strikeout games.

Gray has thrown his slider more than ever during the aforementioned 10-start stretch, and it’s been a money pitch for him. He’s also getting more swings and misses while yet again boasting one of the better ground ball rates in the league. Yes, it’s a good combination, particularly in this record-pace home run year in baseball.

Gray will try to keep it going this weekend in St. Louis against the red-hot Cardinals.

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Looking for Lux

If a top prospect was going to reach the major leagues this season, chances are he’s already been promoted. However, could we possibly see one of the best prospects in the game when rosters expand?

Ken Rosenthal reported over the weekend for FOX Sports and reiterated on Monday for The Athletic that the Dodgers are not ruling out a promotion of infield prospect Gavin Lux in September.

Yes, Lux would need to be added to the 40-man roster. Yes, his addition would further complicate a roster already filled with moving parts. Yes, the Dodgers are going to cruise to another Nationals League West title, with or without Lux.

However, the only question the Dodgers really need to answer is whether Lux gives them a better chance to win a World Series. The 21-year-old’s performance in the minors this season certainly suggests that the answer to that query is “yes.”

Lux has split his time this season between Double- and Triple-A, and entering Monday he was batting .351/.425/.615 with 25 home runs, 75 RBI and 10 stolen bases between the two stops. In 44 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City going into Monday, Lux had belted 12 homers while sporting a 1.240 OPS. Sure, numbers in the PCL are even crazier this year, but sheesh.

Lux is primarily a shortstop, but he’s played nearly 80 games at second base in his pro career and that’s where the Dodgers would break him in. Interestingly, while he’s started just 16 games at second this season, seven of those starts have come over the last three weeks. He was at second base Monday for the third time in his last four contests.

If the Dodgers did call up Lux, it would mean a lot more of Max Muncy at first base and Cody Bellinger in the outfield. It would also figure to mean a drop in playing time for Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez and perhaps a bit for Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo and A.J. Pollock, too.

Manager Dave Roberts has never shied away from putting roster and lineup puzzle pieces together, though. He should be able to find enough at-bats to go around.

Oakland Obliteration

It was a game so lopsided that the Royals used not one, but two position players to pitch the final three innings.

The A’s got back to 20 games over .500 with a blowout victory Monday in Kansas City, pounding out 22 hits and 19 runs in the laugher. Homer Bailey beat his former team with a quality start, allowing three runs over six innings of work.

Everyone in the Oakland lineup reached base at least two times, and only Robbie Grossman didn’t have at least two hits. Four players had at least three base knocks. Seth Brown had a couple hits, an RBI and scored two runs in his major league debut.

The A’s launched four home runs, as Matt Chapman reached the 30-homer plateau and even the ice-cold Khris Davis went deep (granted, it came off of one of the position players who pitched, Humberto Arteaga). Marcus Semien also had one of the long balls and drove in a career-high seven runs.

With the win, the A’s moved ahead of the Rays for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. They’re just a half-game behind the Indians for the top Wild Card spot.

 

National League Quick Hits: Rockies manager Bud Black said Monday that German Marquez is dealing with a tired arm and the team is still debating whether he will pitch again this season. … X-rays came back negative after Mike Moustakas exited Monday’s game with a left hand injury, although he’s not expected to play Tuesday. … Freddy Galvis went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer and four RBI as the Reds topped the Marlins on Monday. … Julio Teheran held the Rockies scoreless for six innings Monday at Coors Field but took a no-decision in the Braves’ loss. … Yadier Molina went 2-for-4 with a homer, three RBI and a walk Monday in the Cardinals' drubbing of the Brewers. … Justin Turner went 3-for-5 with a homer in Monday’s loss to the Padres. … Pablo Lopez lost to the Reds after giving up four runs in five innings Monday in his return from the injured list. … Jay Bruce (elbow) is scheduled to play in rehab games on Friday and Saturday before being activated Sunday … Dansby Swanson went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his return from the IL Monday.

American League Quick Hits: Giancarlo Stanton (knee) could take batting practice on Tuesday, which would be the first time he’s done so since June. … Luis Severino (shoulder) could begin a rehab assignment on Sunday. … Stephen Piscotty (ankle) landed on the IL Monday and Athletics manager Bob Melvin said that the outfielder could be sidelined for "a while". … Adalberto Mondesi (shoulder) is expected to be activated from the injury list on Sunday. … Mike Ford went deep twice in the Yankees’ win over the Mariners on Monday. … Danny Duffy (hamstring) will rejoin the Royals' rotation on Saturday versus the Orioles. … Brendan McKay has been placed on the injured list at Triple-A Durham with left shoulder fatigue.

Ryan Boyer
Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.