Sonny Gray set to start Game 5 for Oakland A's

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Sonny Gray will be the A's starting pitcher over Bartolo Colon against the Tigers during Game 5 of the ALDS on Thursday.

Sonny Gray will start Game 5 for the Oakland A's in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. The A's were faced with the decision to start Bartolo Colon or Gray, and opted for the rookie out of Vanderbilt. Both players have pitched well, but Gray seemed to offer more upside.

Manager Bob Melvin explained the decision Wednesday evening on a conference call.

"We had two great options, we looked at it at a bunch of different angles," Melvin said. "The short of it is that it came down to the game that Sonny just pitched."

Gray is 5-3 in 10 starts this season. He has a 2.67 ERA, and has not given up an earned run in his last two starts. During Game 2 of the series Saturday, he pitched eight shutout innings and gave up just four hits and struck out nine to help the A's to a 1-0 win. Colon gave up 10 hits and three earned runs in six innings during his lone start this series, a 3-2 loss in Game 1.

Colon has the advantage of experience over Gray, but as Nico at Athletics Nation explained, the 23-year-old Gray has the potential to be dominant:

Some will argue that in Game 5 you have to go with experience. I say you go with dominant stuff that has "shutout potential". If the series comes back to Oakland, in order to advance the A's might not have the luxury of giving up a couple runs. I know he's only 23, I know he gives up runs sometimes, and I know he is not, in fact, the second coming of {insert your savior here}. At the same time, if you had any questions about Gray's ability to thrive under pressure on the big stage, those questions were surely answered [Saturday] night with an exclamation point.

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