Sonny Gray has been as good as advertised for the Cardinals

Sonny Gray turned in yet another impressive start on Monday against the A's, proving that he is exactly what the Cardinals needed. Gray went six scoreless innings and struck out six batters.
St. Louis Cardinals v Oakland Athletics
St. Louis Cardinals v Oakland Athletics / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The Cardinals are heading into their series this weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers fresh off a series win in Oakland, and even though they couldn't pull off the sweep, game one of the series showed Cardinals fans what they've been dying to see.

Starting for the Cardinals was their new ace Sonny Gray, who was pitching against the team that had drafted and developed him. Though he was on a 75-pitch limit, he made the most of his time on the mound. All he did was go six scoreless innings and strike out six batters in his second start of the year. The Cardinals won the game 3-1.

The Cardinals may not have gone after guys like Blake Snell or Aaron Nola, but they did get a strong arm to lead the rotation. Gray has proven to be exactly what the Cardinals needed and then some with his strong start to the season.

Sonny Gray has been as good as advertised for the Cardinals

We all know the Cardinals aren't off to a very good start. It's slightly better than last year, but it hasn't been terribly impressive. It also could be a heck of a lot worse.

This isn't to say that fans don't have a right to be frustrated with the team's performance. Of course, fans are entitled to be upset. But Gray's performance last night was a reminder that having a top-level pitcher on your side can give you a huge boost.

Much like Adam Wainwright used to, Gray played the role of the stopper for the Cardinals. They were coming off of a tough series loss to the Diamondbacks and turned to their ace to right the ship. Last year, they didn't have anybody to turn to when things got really bad.

Gray prevented things from getting even worse with his performance last night, and while it's going to be a long road ahead, having Gray is going to make it easier.

He may not have been the big-money pitcher that so many teams covet, but he's been every bit as good as advertised. Gray is the ace that the Cardinals so desperately needed and somebody they can trust to turn things around when the outlook is bleak.

If the Cardinals are going to contend again, this is the kind of pitching they're going to need, and if Gray keeps this up, they have a chance to be much better than last year.

Gray was also super efficient, keeping his pitch count low and not going too deep into counts. Cardinals starters last year were not able to do that. An ace can make a huge difference, and while the Cardinals are still struggling, Gray has already helped them a great deal.