The Value Add game-by-game breakdown for Sonny Gray’s great first season shows that he had only gone eight innings twice – both times against the hapless Houston Astros. It also shows that he was receiving 10 runs of support a game for his last four starts of the season. He was not going to get 10 runs of support against Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers, but he did go eight innings to match Verlander’s shutout performance, finally getting the victory when the Oakland A’s broke the tie in the ninth inning behind two grounders past the lead-footed Tigers who play the corners.
Tigers’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera and first baseman Prince Fielder may be the best three-four combo in baseball, but they do not cover a lot of ground.
Cabrera is playing hurt, and had to guard the third base line in the ninth to protect against an extra base hit. He had no chance when Yoenis Cespedes hit a hard grounder several feet to his left to start the bottom of the ninth with the score tied 0-0.
With Fielder holding Cespedes on at first base, he was very late in trying to fall to his right to get a grounder by Seth Smith to move Cespedes to third base with no outs.
After an intentional walk, Stephen Vogt lined a ball past the drawn-in infield to give Oakland the 1-0 win. While Gray did not receive credit for the traditional win since he did not pitch the ninth inning, Value Add does award a pitcher a “Victory” for going at least five innings and his team getting the win.
Verlander, who was a little off past year’s dominance this season but still ranked as the 44th best player on www.valueaddbaseball.com, was the tough luck loser with seven scoreless innings.
Oakland will go to Detroit for a 1:07 p.m. EDT start with the best of five series now tied 1-1.