Are The Oakland Athletics Overworking Starting Pitcher Sonny Gray?

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The Oakland Athletics’ young ace Sonny Gray was scratched from his start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. It was reported that Gray was experiencing back spasms Wednesday night and it was treated immediately. However, he was still not able to start in Thursday’s game. Gray has been pitching magnificently this season and it comes as quite a shock that he was pulled from his start today.

Could it be possible that the Oakland Athletics are overworking Gray because he has been so successful on the mound this year? It is widely known that the Athletics’ bullpen has been their downfall this season, so the A’s are trying to get the most out of their starters. But, lately, they have have been asking too much from Gray.

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Gray has pitched three complete games this season – two in July and one in August. All three of these complete games occurred within the span of six starts. It would be astonishing if Gray was not feeling any physical effects from those games. If he continues down this path and pitches an average of seven innings per start for the remainder of the season, he will have thrown about 231 innings for 2015, which is 22 more innings than 2014.

Gray is only 25 years old and in his second full season pitching in the MLB. Even though he has been pitching so well, Oakland should be allowing him to rest a little more since there is no chance of the A’s making it to the postseason. If they want Gray to be pitching for the team for many more seasons to come, this is the time to save his arm and let him take a breather.

It must also be noted that Gray has a small frame. Even though he has been an extremely strong pitcher this season, Gray’s size has been compared to San Francisco Giants’ starter Tim Lincecum. Lincecum was extremely successful with the Giants for a handful of seasons, but, ultimately, his slight stature could not take the consistent stress of being a starting pitcher and he has struggled the past couple of years. Let’s hope that this is not Gray’s fate as well.

The Athletics should take this time to give Gray some proper rest. He is expected to pitch sometime during the upcoming series against the Baltimore Orioles. Let’s just hope that Oakland does not put him out on the mound until he’s fully healthy.

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