Jon Gray struggling to match his fellow members of the starting rotation
The starting rotation since the deadline has been pitching at a much higher level. Max Scherzer, Jordan Montgomery, Andrew Heaney, and Dane Dunning are each putting together efforts that give the Rangers a chance to win. I did leave out Jon Gray because he has been really struggling since about the middle of June. He has been dealing with health-related issues and ineffectiveness. It begs the question that if this continues will it be Gray that heads to the bullpen when Eovaldi is healthy?
Gray was one of the big free agent signings back in 2021. His signing was announced on the same day as Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. He is now in year two of a four-year contract. Through the middle of June he was one of the Rangers' best pitchers. His best start came on June 7th in a loss against St. Louis. He pitched a complete game, allowing just one run and striking out 12. His ERA fell to a season-low 2.32 after that game. The ERA stayed under 3 till June 30th when he gave up five runs to the Astros and his ERA went up to 3.21 after the game. The swoon that started after the complete-game performance has not subsided since then.
Since June 30th Gray has made five starts and has allowed three or more runs in four of the five starts. The more troubling aspect of Gray's season is that since the 12 strikeout performance against the Cardinals, he has only struck more than five batters two times. He has actually struck out fewer than five batters in six starts in that same stretch. His ERA has climbed from 2.32 to 3.72. Gray still has the stuff and makeup to be a dominant starting pitcher, but the results have not been there.
Gray right now is the weak link in the starting rotation. Martin Perez was that pitcher and then he was moved to the bullpen. If Gray can get back to pitching how he did in the first two months of the season, he would make an already formidable rotation even stronger. If he doesn't he may join Perez in the bullpen by the end of August.