Found October 11, 2013 on isportsweb.com:
Sonny Gray In 2012, the Oakland Athletics made it to the postseason by shear luck. They played a touch series against the Detroit Tigers but the young and inexperienced time ultimately lost in game five and did move onto the American League Championship Series. The 2013 season was different. The Athletics started out strong and continued to dominate as the season stretched on. Even though their success dipped in late July and August, they regained momentum in September. They ended the season with the second best record in the American League behind the Boston Red Sox. Last year’s ammature lineup had grown into a a hard-hitting, defensively gifted team. They were ready to take on the Detroit Tigers once again, but this time, they were ready to win. The Athletics won the first two games while the Tigers took game three and four. Once again, these two teams met for game five to see who would move on to the ALCS. The Oakland Athletics had rookie Sonny Gray on the mound while the Tigers had ace Justin Verlander. Gray had out pitched Verlander in game two when he went eight innings and only allowed four hits while striking out nine. Verlander only went seven innings during that game and the A’s won with a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth. When asked why Manager Bob Melvin did not put veteran and 2013 star pitcher Bartolo Colon on the mound, he said felt comfortable putting in the rookie since Gray was as fearless as a “bulldog.” But Gray got off to a rocky start right in the beginning. He was not as sharp as he had previously been and racked up six hits and a two run home run by the fourth inning. He could not seem to hit the strike zone and ultimately only struck out three Tigers. Gray was pulled in the sixth inning after Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta both singled. Dan Otero came in to relieve Gray, but the damage had already been done. The Tigers scored one more run in the the sixth and led the Athletics 3-0. Even though the Athletics’ defensive was pretty much on point, their bats could not catch up with Justin Verlander’s pitches. He threw off the batters by rarely throwing the same pitch twice in a row, his fastball was like a bullet to the catcher’s glove, and his nasty curve ball dropped right into the strike zone at the last minute. Verlander struck out ten over the eight innings that he pitched. He racked up 111 pitches and 76 of them were strikes. To say he was on fire is an understatement. When Verlander left after the eighth inning, the Athletics’ lineup was relieved. They were excited to face a new pitcher since Verlander had shut down many of the hard hitters in the Athletics lineup. The Tigers brought in closer Joaquin Benoit in close out the bottom of the ninth. But Benoit did not give the Athletics much wiggle room. Coco Crisp grounded out to second and Josh Donaldson struck out swinging. With one out remaining, the Athletics needed something big to happen. And Jed Lowrie did just that. Lowrie doubled to left field. Then Yoenis Cespedes was hit by a pitch. With two Athletics on base, Seth Smith stepped up to the plate looking to hit the tying home run. After battling off the first few pitches, Smith readied himself for his big moment. He stepped toward the mound and took a giant swing, but, instead of blasting one over the back wall, it popped straight up to center field. Tiger’s centerfielder Austin Jackson caught the pop fly to make the last out. The Oakland Athletics lost to the Detroit Tigers 3-0. The Oakland Athletics had a great run this year. They proved that even though they might have one of the lowest payrolls, most underdog players, and smelliest ballpark, they could still be a dominant team in the American League. This year’s dugout was such a powerhouse team that it will be interesting to see what happens in the postseason. Many of the player’s contracts are up and we all know that Billy Beane is not about to give them much more money for their outstanding performance this season. One thing is for sure, the 2013 team was one of the most successful teams that Oakland has seen in awhile.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Sonny Gray injury: Athletics RHP breaks thumb in ALDS Game 5

Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray suffered a broken thumb while fielding a ball in the last game of the 2013 ALDS. Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray who took the loss in Game 5 of the ALDS against Detroit broke his thumb during the game on Thursday night according to Joe Stiglich of Comcast Sports California. He will have an MRI on Friday. Gray pitched five innings allowing three...

A’s tab Sonny Gray to start Game 5

The A’s are counting on a rookie to take down the Tigers in Thursday’s decisive Game 5 of the American League Division Series with 23-year-old Sonny Gray getting the nod over veteran Bartolo Colon. Oakland manager Bob Melvin announced the decision on a conference call Wednesday afternoon less than 24 hours after his club suffered an 8-6 loss in Detroit to force Game 5. Gray...

Sonny Gray gets Game 5 start over Bartolo Colon

Ever since the the Tigers shoved a knife in the hearts of the A’s and their fans Tuesday by rallying in Game 4 to tie the ALDS, the hot storyline in the series has been surrounding who would get the start in the deciding Game 5 for the A’s: rookie Sonny Gray or 40-year-old Bartolo Colon. It’s Colon’s scheduled start in the postseason rotation, but Gray was lights out in Game...

The Case For Colon, The Case for Gray

Ahead of game five, Oakland manager Bob Melvin had a tough choice to make. Both Bartolo Colon and Sonny Gray were available on full rest. And though he has indicated that Sonny Gray is his starter, what this post presupposes is: what if he hadn’t told us who was starting. Who would we choose to be his starter? The Case for Colon Over the course of the season, these are the statistics...

ALDS Game 5 Preview: Detroit at Oakland

American League Division Series – Game 5Detroit Tigers at Oakland A's8:07 ET TBSJustin Verlander (13-12, 3.46) vs. Sonny Gray (5-3, 2.67)...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.