It’s been a full 9 days since we last saw Sonny Gray toe the rubber for the Cincinnati Reds. After being shelled for 6 ER without getting out of the 1st inning against the St. Louis Cardinals back on September 1st, the Reds opted to give their ace a bit of extra rest, as Sonny himself cited fatigue as part of the reason he struggled so much.
That would certainly make sense, obviously. He’s not injured, but he clearly was laboring on the mound that day, pulling his fastball while over-throwing and being forced to lean on his breaking balls to try to find the plate at all. Hopefully, the extra rest will get Sonny back on track for the Reds stretch run, as he’ll be vital if they’re to pull a playoff rabbit out of a soft-serve helmet this year.
(It’s worth noting that even with that disaster of a start, Gray still owns the 9th best ERA of any pitcher who’s thrown at least 180 innings since the start of last year, ranking right ahead of both Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer. That’s acing.)
The Cubs, meanwhile, will counter with young Adbert Alzolay, who is decidedly not Albert Adzolay nor Albert Almora. The 25 year old righty has only tossed 8.2 innings so far in 2020 and 21 innings in the bigs as a whole, but has long ranked among their best pitching prospects. Signed as an 18 year old out of Venezuela back in 2013, he cracked the Baseball Prospectus Top 100 prospect list at #95 prior to 2018, and made his big league debut a year later.
Speaking of Top 100 prospects, Tyler Stephenson will make his first big league start behind the plate for the Reds this evening. That’s exciting.
On top of that, today is Joey Votto’s 37th birthday. Maybe he’ll sock a few dingers to celebrate.
First pitch is again set for 8:15 PM ET, so pull another TV into your football cave so you can watch both.