It’s no secret for baseball teams to have success during the regular season it begins with strong starting pitching. There’s one team over the past two seasons that’s had terrific contributions from their starting rotation. Can anyone guess who this mystery team is? (Hint: It’s not the Minnesota Twins). It’s the Oakland Athletics, led by young phenom Sonnny Gray.

Oakland has won at least 94 games in each of the past two seasons en route to capturing the American League West title on both occasions. It is off to a good start this season (16-10) and it’s due to a strong starting rotation.

Oakland was dealt a harsh blow before the season began, when it found out starting pitcher Jarrod Parker would be lost after requiring a second Tommy John surgery. The A’s just announced on Tuesday that right-hander A.J. Griffin will have season season-ending surgery on his right elbow Wednesday in Houston, per CSNBayArea.

In most cases, this would be a problem by losing two pitchers who are crucial to the rotation. Fortunately for the Athletics, they have a young right-hander in Sonny Gray that’s pitched phenomenal on the mound for them.

Gray has kept his team in each start this season, and his most recent outing against the Texas Rangers on Monday was a sight to behold. He threw his first career complete-game shutout, yielding only three hits with six strikeouts while outduelimg Rangers’ starter Yu Darvish.

The impressive part about this start is that he annihilated a lineup that featured Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre, among other very good hitters.

He also became the first A’s starter to shut out the Rangers in Arlington since Dallas Braden did it on four hits on Aug. 28, 2010.

After this start, Gray is third in the AL with 41 innings pitched, and his 1.76 ERA ranks fifth. The rotation for Oakland is in good hands with him leading the charge and don’t be surprised if Gray is starting the All-Star Game for the AL at Target Field in July.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
Courtesy of

Photo: Tim Heitman, USA Today