Right-hander Josiah Gray hopes to show the San Francisco Giants how much he’s grown in the past nine months when he takes the mound for the Washington Nationals in the finale of a three-game road series on Sunday afternoon.
The teams have split blowouts in the first two games of the set, with the Giants rebounding from a 14-4 shellacking in the series opener on Friday with a 9-3 romp in Saturday’s rematch.
Gray (2-2, 4.05 ERA) is slated to be opposed by fellow right-hander Alex Cobb (1-0, 4.82), who is expected to be reinstated from the injured list before the game.
A top prospect in the Dodgers’ system after having been a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2018, Gray was promoted by Los Angeles to make his major-league debut last July in a home game against the Giants.
He served up home runs to LaMonte Wade Jr., Thairo Estrada and Mike Yastrzemski during his four innings. In an 8-6 win, he allowed four runs and struck out seven in the only time he’s faced San Francisco.
The Dodgers traded him 10 days later as part of the deal that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to Los Angeles.
Gray had a penchant for giving up the long ball last season. After becoming a starter following the relief outing in his debut, the 24-year-old allowed at least one homer in 10 straight starts, including two on three occasions and three one other time.
He’s allowed homers in three of his four starts this season, including one in each of his two losses.
He struck out a career-high-tying 10 in his most recent start in a 5-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.
Neither Gray nor Cobb pitched when the Giants swept three straight at Washington last weekend. Gray was out of the rotation, while Cobb was on the injured list with a strained right groin.
The veteran sustained the injury in a 5-4 loss in New York against the Mets on April 19. He hasn’t pitched since.
The 34-year-old, who played for the Angels last season, will be pitching in his new home for just the second time this season. He impressed with 10 strikeouts in five innings in a 13-2 win over the San Diego Padres on April 12.
A career-long American Leaguer before this season, Cobb has faced the Nationals just once in his 11-year career, that coming in a 6-0 loss for the Baltimore Orioles on May 28, 2018. He gave up three runs in seven innings that day.
The Nationals have outhit the Giants 33-22 in the series. Giants Saturday starter Logan Webb, who served up 11 hits in his six innings, had a warning for Cobb after the game.
“They’ve got a good lineup,” he said of the Nationals. “They don’t chase a lot. Seemed everything they were trying to do today was go to the opposite field. They did that (Friday) against (Alex Wood), and they did that against me.
“Props to them. You don’t see that very often anymore. Seems like you see a lot of guys taking home run swings.”
The 33 hits have produced just one win in two games, but Victor Robles, who has had six of the hits, thinks positive vibes will pay off more handsomely.
“You start supporting each other, you’re happy about your teammates playing well and then they start cheering for you and give you a little bit of motivation,” he observed. “It adds a lot of motivation and excitement in that dugout.”
–Field Level Media