Sonny Gray makes his belated 2016 debut when the Oakland Athletics host the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday after the ace fully recovered from what he is calling a 24-hour flu after it was originally thought to be food poisoning. Oakland’s right-hander was prepared to make his third consecutive opening day start Monday, but instead went to the hospital and — along with his fiancee — needed an IV infusion after becoming ill at dinner Sunday night.
“It’s just one game of 162,’’ Gray told reporters. “It was upsetting not to start, it really sucked, but there’s nothing you can do about it.’’ The Athletics hope Gray can do something about halting their early slide as Chicago prevailed 5-4 on Tuesday for its second straight victory to open the season. Oakland native Jimmy Rollins, who won the shortstop job in spring training after signing a minor-league contract, homered with two out in the ninth inning to give the White Sox their sixth straight victory in Oakland. Chicago on Wednesday hands the ball to left-hander Carlos Rodon, who struck out 139 in 2015 — second-most in franchise history by a rookie.
TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, ESPN2, CSN Chicago
LINE HISTORY: The A’s, behind their ace Sonny Gray, opened as -138 favorites and the line has held steady thus far. The total opened at 7 and was bumped up to 7.5 by Wednesday morning.
White Sox – RP K. Loe (Out Wednesday, suspension).
Athletics – SP S. Gray (Probable Wednesday, food poisoning), LF S. Fuld (Out Wednesday, shoulder), 2B E. Sogard (Out Wednesday, neck).
WEATHER REPORT: Perfect baseball conditions with clear skies and temperatures in the mid-70’s at first pitch. There is a 0 percent chance of rain and a very slight breeze (5 mph) will be blowing in from right field.
UMPIRE REPORT: Dan Bellino will be handling home plate duties on Wednesday evening in Oakland. Bellino’s last three games involving the Chicago White Sox have played Under and the home team has won five of the last six games involving Bellino and the A’s. Under is also 4-1-1 the last four times he has been behind home plate against the A’s.
HOT FAN BATTLE:
PITCHING MATCHUP: White Sox LH Carlos Rodon (2015: 9-6, 3.75 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Sonny Gray (2015: 14-7, 2.73)
Rodon started 23 games among his 26 appearances during his rookie season of 2015 and was 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA in his final eight turns. The 23-year-old Florida native received a no-decision against Oakland in his second career start May 15 after yielding five runs and six walks in four innings. Rodon had a rough spring training as he allowed 13 runs and 20 hits in 14 2/3 innings over four starts, and threw 108 pitches in his final tuneup Thursday.
Gray is 7-1 with a 2.02 ERA in 10 April starts after going 3-0, 1.98 in five turns last season. The 26-year-old Tennessee native has struggled versus Chicago, though, permitting 10 runs (nine earned) and 12 hits in 10 innings covering two starts. Gray, who has won 14 games in consecutive seasons, yielded 12 runs (11 earned) and 23 hits while striking out 11 in 17 2/3 innings during four starts in the spring.
* White Sox are 1-5 in their last 6 road games vs. a right-handed starter.
* White Sox are 4-0 in Rodons last 4 starts vs. a team with a losing record.
* Athletics are 3-13 in their last 16 home games.
* Under is 6-1 in Rodons last 7 starts vs. American League West.
* Over is 6-1 in Grays last 7 starts overall.
* White Sox are 6-0 in the last 6 meetings in Oakland.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is very heavy on Sonny Gray and the A’s at 76 percent. The consensus on the total is pretty even with Under picking up 51 percent of the action.