HomeTeamsCardinalsSonny Gray Makes His Cardinals Debut

Sonny Gray Makes His Cardinals Debut

After starting the season on the injured list, Sonny Gray made his first start of the young season for the St. Louis Cardinals. To make room for his return, the Cardinals sent John King down to the Memphis Redbirds (AAA).

His Busch Stadium debut was a long time coming after departing the Minnesota Twins for St. Louis. Gray joined Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn as starting pitchers to sign with the Cardinals prior to the 2024 season.

“So far, so good,” Bally Sports Midwest analyst Brad Thompson said of Gray in the fourth inning. “You’re just watching him go about it, you wouldn’t think he missed any time at all. All of his stuff has been sharp for the most part, putting the ball where he wants to, of what we’ve seen.”

Gray pitched five shut-out innings with five strikeouts to start his Cardinals career. By the fifth inning Gray was already 53 pitches while facing the bottom third of the Philadelphia Phillies lineup. The pitcher inched closer to the magic number of 65 pitches as manager Oli Marmol visited the mound but he stayed with him. Gray needed just 64 pitches to get through five innings, limiting the Phillies to just five hits. After that, he was done and it became a bullpen game for the Cardinals.

Obviously, the Cardinals wanted to be careful with the pitcher on Tuesday night. As Thompson noted, he was sharp all evening and looked as if he didn’t miss any time. The Cardinals bullpen mostly did a good job thereafter, but JoJo Romero did get a scare early in his relief outing. Thankfully, the team got out of it. Ryan Helsley pitched the ninth and picked up the save.

“He absolutely delivered,” Cardinals Live! analyst Rick Horton said during the postgame show. “He almost did it exactly on the pitch count that he was allowed—64 pitches. He was given 65, got a double play against a guy who is impossible to double up…Really just a wonderful game for him. I thought he was very in command throughout the game. I thought there was something about him that just looked like the kind of guy that was in charge. I mean, he was absolutely in charge. His fastball had great command and his breaking pitches are elite.”

Offensively, Gray couldn’t have asked more from his teammates upon making his Busch Stadium debut. His teammates showed up with run support and he pitched five solid innings. There were a few scares here and there but Gray got through them unscathed. The mound presence alone speaks to why the Cardinals were smart to sign him. It’s too early to say if the Cardinals are looking at a Cy Young Award season from the first-time Cardinals pitcher but if he pitches more games like Tuesday night, it’s going to be extremely fun to watch Gray on the mound.

Gray told the media after the game that he felt good, calm, and collected. “I just felt at home.” He spoke about the plan for the game and that he told Marmol, “Don’t let me do something stupid.” The Cardinals manager gave him instructions to get the Phillies to ground into a double play. That’s exactly what happened, and Gray was able to get a solid start as a result. “I just felt comfortable in this environment than I have in any of those backfield things…Just coming here, I felt more comfortable in this environment than I have in any of the other ones.”

Nolan Gorman hit a solo shot just past the center field wall to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. During the fifth inning, Victor Scott II drove in his first RBI to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. Masyn Winn added to the run tally when he made it a 3-0 lead. If you’re Sonny Gray, you couldn’t ask for a better debut after coming off the IL.

It was awesome,” Gorman said of Gray during a postgame interview with Bally Sports Midwest reporter Jim Hayes during the postgame.

It was not a good night at the plate for third baseman Nolan Arenado. The Gold Glove fielder may have made some great plays on the field—including a stellar play on a bunt attempt—but his nine-game hitting streak came to end.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here