Sonny Gray was not scheduled to start during the Yankees’ crucial four-game AL East showdown with the Red Sox at Fenway Park beginning on Thursday.
After Gray’s latest Yankee Stadium debacle in Wednesday’s 7-5 loss to the Orioles, he may now not make his next scheduled start on Monday at Chicago against the White Sox as manager Aaron Boone floated the notion of removing the struggling righthander from the rotation.
Lance Lynn, acquired from the Twins on Monday and who made his Yankees’ debut with 41/3 innings of scoreless relief,, is a likely candidate to replace Gray (8-8), who allowed eight hits and seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
“It’s something we’ll talk about in the hours ahead, in the days ahead,” Boone said. “Those are all things we’ve got to evaluate and consider. We do have some options now. We’re not going to be emotional about it right now.”
The last-place Orioles (33-75), who have split 12 games with the Yankees (68-38), batted around in a five-run second inning, then scored twice more with two outs in the third as Gray consistently fell behind in the count.
As a result, the Yankees trail the idle Red Sox (75-34),, by 5 1/2 games.
“Today was a bad day for us,” Boone said. “We’ve got to learn from it and flush it quick.”
Gray, after getting the first two outs of the third inning on grounders, allowed a solo home run to Trey Mancini and walked Caleb Joseph before Renato Nunez’s single put runners on first and third.
That brought out Boone to take out Gray, who walked back to the dugout wearing an odd smile as boos rained down on him from the crowd of 47,206. It was a culmination of the catcalls that started in the second.
“Honestly, I’m just frustrated,” Gray said when asked to explain why he was smiling. “I think everyone handles frustration differently. I’ve never in my whole life been a guy that throws things around or throws a glove against the wall or punches something. It’s just frustrating.”
Especially because Gray came into the game having won three straight for the first time as a Yankee and with a 3-0 record and 2.00 ERA against the Orioles this season. But Gray, who came into Wednesday with a 6.80 ERA in his home starts this season, is just 4-4 at the Stadium.
Gray, whose ERA rose to 5.56 this season as he matched a career high with his seven earned runs allowed, seemed almost resigned to losing his rotation spot to Lynn.
“At the end of the day, I want them to do whatever is best to help us win,” Gray said. “If I get the ball in five days, I’ll go compete. If not, I’ll be right there to do whatever.”
“It’s no secret it was a very frustrating game for me and for us,” Gray added. “As many times as I’ve done that to us this year, it’s a frustrating spot to be in.”
Gray exited trailing 7-1 but the Yankees did have their opportunities.
Gleyber Torres had led off the bottom of the second with a solo homer to right but Giancarlo Stanton struck out swinging for the third out with the bases loaded. Torres also launched a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth to close the gap.
Pinch hitter Neil Walker grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Orioles righthander Alex Cobb (3-14) gave up one run and seven hits, striking out six and walking one in six innings as his ERA dropped to 5.83.