Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray has been voted the American League Pitcher of the Month for July.
Gray compiled a perfect 5-0 record with a 1.03 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 35.0 innings pitched over five starts to claim his second career Pitcher of the Month Award, also winning top pitching honors earlier this season for April. He is the first Athletics hurler to win Pitcher of the Month twice in a single campaign since Barry Zito in August and September 2001. Additionally, Sonny becomes the first two-time winner while pitching for the A's since Mark Mulder (June 2002 and June 2004).
The Nashville, Tennessee native was one of two pitchers in the Majors to win five games in July, joining fellow Vanderbilt University product David Price, who did so with the Tampa Bay Rays prior to being traded to Detroit on July 31st. The 24-year-old became the third Oakland pitcher over the last nine years to win five games in any month (also Bartolo Colon in June 2013 and Gio Gonzalez in September 2011). His 1.03 ERA was the third-lowest in all of Baseball in July (minimum 27.0 innings pitched), being bested only by 2014 All-Stars Chris Sale (0.85) of the Chicago White Sox and new teammate Jon Lester (0.93), formerly of the Boston Red Sox. It was the lowest July ERA by an Athletics starting pitcher since at least 1914 (when ERA was first recorded), the sixth-lowest by a pitcher in any month in Oakland history, and the lowest by an A's pitcher since Cory Lidle's 0.20 in August 2002. The second-year veteran allowed one earned run-or-fewer in all five of his starts, each with at least 6.2 innings pitched to match the longest streak by an Oakland pitcher over the last 12 seasons (also Esteban Loaiza, from August 13-September 3, 2006). Opponents batted just .200 against Gray, seventh-best in the league, and in addition, he allowed just 31 total bases for the fifth-lowest mark in the A.L.
Gray, who was Oakland's first round pick (18th overall) in the 2011 Draft, is 12-4 with a 2.59 ERA, one shutout and 128 strikeouts in 146.0 innings pitched over 22 starts heading into play today. In two seasons in the Majors, Sonny has tallied a 17-7 record over 34 starts to tie for the second-most wins by an Athletics pitcher over his first 34 career starts. He joins Jim Nash (19-6 from 1966-67 between Kansas City and Oakland) and Tim Hudson 17-4 (1999-2000).
Others receiving votes for A.L. Pitcher of the Month included Sale (3-0, 0.85 ERA, 31.2 IP, 1 CG, 3 BB, 38 SO), Price (5-1, 1.74 ERA, 46.2 IP, 45 SO) and Lester (1-0, 0.93 ERA, 29.0 IP, 3 BB, 34 SO); as well as Corey Kluber (4-0, 1.54 ERA, 41.0 IP, 1 SHO, 4 BB, 43 SO) of the Cleveland Indians; rookie Marcus Stroman (3-0, 1.71 ERA, 31.2 IP, 31 SO) of the Toronto Blue Jays; and A.L. All-Star Game starter Felix Hernandez (1-1, 1.70 ERA, 37.0 IP, 41 SO) of the Seattle Mariners.
The American League Pitcher of the Month, Sonny Gray, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.