Gray takes mound for A's vs. Jays amid trade rumors
According to STATSAccording to STATS
Oakland Athletics at Toronto Blue Jays
- The Blue Jays have dominated the A's in Toronto in recent years, going 8-1 at home while outscoring Oakland by a combined score of 49-26. Over that same stretch, Blue Jays relievers have fashioned a 1.57 ERA while striking out 18, walking two and converting all six save opportunities.
- The Athletics have gone 1-2 in both of their last two series, losing the first two games before winning the finale of each. Oakland's record on the road is now 16-31, which represents its lowest winning percentage (.340) away from home since going 23-58 (.284) in 1979.
- The Blue Jays were swept in three games at Cleveland this weekend by a combined score of 23-5. Toronto hit just .188 as a team while going 1-for-17 (.059) with runners in scoring position.
- With his 28th home run of 2017 on Sunday, Khris Davis became the first player to slug 70 over the past two seasons combined. It's the highest total by any A's player over a two-year span since Jason Giambi in 2000-01 (81 homers).
- Chris Smith is one of 12 starting pitchers the Athletics have used in 2017. Only Cincinnati (14) and Seattle (13) have utilized more. Oakland has used 27 starting pitchers since the beginning of 2015, second only to the Reds (30).
- Francisco Liriano hasn't made it past 2.0 innings in either of his two starts since the All-Star break, compiling a 17.18 ERA and surrendering a .474 batting average. Liriano's 6.15 ERA for the 2017 season overall is the highest ever by a Blue Jays left-hander (minimum 15 starts).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 7/24/2017 thru 7/27/2017
TORONTO -- The Sonny Gray watch continues.
As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, the Oakland Athletics starter is expected to be a target for several teams.
Gray will start for the Athletics against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night in the second game of a four-game series at the Rogers Centre.
Cesar Valdez, who opened the season with Oakland, will start for the Blue Jays.
Toronto (45-54) won the series opener Monday night 4-2. Oakland (44-55) managed only two hits, one a homer by Matt Chapman, giving him home runs in three consecutive games. The season series between the teams is tied 2-2.
Gray has been on a roll, going 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA and a .155 opponents' batting average over his past five starts, which enhances his value.
The right-hander keeps his focus on the mound and not the trade talk.
"If (a trade) comes, then I'll have to address that and think of that when it comes, but as of now, it hasn't," he said when the team was in New York last weekend to play the Mets. "So, there's no reason for me to spend any time or energy because no one really knows what's going on except for a few people. No one knows, so we'll see."
A's manager Bob Melvin said in New York, "He's been around for a little while, so it's not like he's a rookie and having to deal with this. It doesn't look like at this point the distractions have been bothering him because he's been pitching as well as he has in a couple of years at this point."
The Blue Jays were 3-7 on a road trip that started their schedule after the All-Star break, and that will influence their approach to the deadline.
General manager Ross Atkins said the team will be looking to 2018 with any moves it might make.
He told a media scrum before the game Monday that there are no untouchables, "but there are a number of guys that we don't have many discussions about. When you think about an organization, it's really about young, controllable talent. So, any way that you can do that, we'll look to do that.
"We feel like we have underperformed and underachieved offensively and defensively. Our relief pitching's been pretty strong. Our starting pitching's been OK until the last couple of weeks. So, it's not position-specific right now. It's more about controllable young talent."
Gray (6-4, 3.66 ERA) will be facing the Blue Jays for the first time since July 16, 2016, at Oakland when he was the winning pitcher in a 5-4 victory. He allowed six hits, four walks and three runs.
He is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five career starts against Toronto.
Gray has better results at home than away from Oakland. In 10 starts at the Coliseum this season, he is 5-2 with a 3.08 ERA and a .208 opponents' batting average. In five starts on the road, he is 1-2 with a 4.85 ERA and a .274 opponents' batting average.
Valdez will make his first start for the Blue Jays on Tuesday. It will be the second start for him this season and the fourth of his major league career.
His other start this season was for Oakland on April 20 when he allowed five hits, two walks and three runs (two earned) in four innings and did not factor in the decision against the Seattle Mariners. He had four strikeouts in the Athletics' 9-6 win.
Valdez's first two starts were with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010. He is 1-1 with a 6.92 ERA in his three starts.
The Blue Jays acquired him off waivers May 5, two days after Oakland designated him for assignment.
Valdez has a 2.70 ERA in four relief outings with Toronto, and he went 3-3 with a 3.23 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) with Triple-A Buffalo.
On Wednesday, he pitched four scoreless innings in relief, allowing one hit while striking out five in Toronto's 5-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox. He also allowed four hits and one run in 1 2/3 innings against the Indians on Friday, a game Cleveland won 13-3.
Valdez will be facing Oakland for the first time in his career.
Updated July 25, 2017