Oakland Athletics v Toronto Blue Jays
TORONTO, ON - JULY 25: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on July 25, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees won’t only showcase their new arm but will also match up against a team they may face in the postseason. 

Tonight, the New York Yankees will be at Progressive Field to face the American League Central leading Cleveland Indians and will mark the Yankee debut of recently acquired starting pitcher Sonny Gray. Gray had been highly sought after by many fans and was traded to the team for infielder/outfielder Jorge Mateo, starting pitcher James Kaprielian, and outfielder Dustin Fowler. All three prospects were highly touted by the organization.

Gray clearly came over to the Bronx at a high price and Thursday will be the first chance for the team and fans to see if he was worth it. While the trade can’t be graded after only one start, it will give an indication of whether or not the former All Star was worth the three youngsters.

Progressive Field on Thursday night will be electric and is going to be a perfect place for the newest Yankee to make his debut. This is partially due to the potential pitchers duel that could take place.

So far this season, Gray has posted a 6-5 record with a 3.43 ERA in 16 starts. However, in his past six starts, he has a 4-2 record with a 1.37 ERA.

Opposing Gray will be the ace of the Indians pitching staff, Corey Kluber. This year, Kluber has an 8-3 record in 17 starts with a 2.90 ERA. Thursday’s game has the potential to be an instant classic with two of the American League’s finest on the mound.

In addition to this regular season pitching duel, the Yankees and Indians each seem playoff bound and have a good shot at facing each other in the postseason this year.

The Houston Astros have seemingly run away with the best record in the American League (barring a historic collapse) and will face the Wild Card game winner. Both the Yankees and Indians are locked in tight divisional races. If each team manages to clinch their respective division, they’ll face each other in the American League Divisional Series.

The Yankees came into this season with modest expectations. Maybe a second Wild Card spot, maybe develop some new Baby Bombers. That all changed when Aaron Judge rose to superstardom and when the team won 21 of their first 30 games. The future is now for the Yankees and acquiring a young, high-end pitcher cemented them being all in.

But tonight is the first step. Tonight, Sonny Gray needs to prove himself. Tonight, the Yankees need to prove themselves. They need to prove they belong in the same conversation as the defending American League champions.

Tonight is going to have a big game feel with two teams squaring off, each with playoff aspirations and sending a star pitcher to the mound. The home team wants to prove their run to the World Series last year wasn’t a fluke and the away wants to prove they’re not waiting for next year and instead are ready now. 

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. The game can be seen on the YES Network and heard on WFAN 101.9 FM or 660 AM.

Contributing Yankees Writer | Sports Reporter for Centenary University’s “The Quill” | Centenary University ‘19