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Lowell Cohn: A's young star Sonny Gray has stuff to be real ace

  • Oakland Athletics' Sonny Gray works against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 1, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND -- Sonny Gray, who may or may not be the A's staff ace, beat the Angels on Sunday and that made his record 6-1 — superb — and that made his earned run average 2.45 — ditto on superb.

Because he won, the A's swept the Angels and increased their lead over the Anaheims to 4? games. Gray was sometimes overpowering and, when he got into trouble, he mostly got out of it. He passes the statistics test and he passes the eye test. Just looking at him you know this is an elite pitcher.

But is he an ace?

It is a serious question and the answer helps define Gray and helps define the A's. And it brings on two more questions — please bear with me. What is an ace? Do the A's have an ace?

First, let's do definitions. An ace is a team's opening-day pitcher. An ace pitches the big game in the postseason. An ace ends a losing streak, never lets things get out of hand, never allows chaos to intrude upon a respectable season. An ace out-pitches the opponent's ace. On Sunday, Gray out-pitched Angels' ace Jared Weaver.

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