23 year old Oakland A’s rookie starting pitcher Sonny Gray takes the mound today for his first postseason start as a Major League Baseball player.
In 10 regular season starts, the youngster went 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA, and tonight faces off against veteran and perennial All Star, Cy Young winner Justin Verlander.
How is Gray dealing with the pressure? In an interview with CSN Bay Area’s Joe Stiglich, he lent some insight into his mindset.
“I’m sure (Saturday) is going to be exciting and there will be adrenaline going,” Gray said. “Just to harness that and use it to my advantage is probably going to be a key to the game.”
In 12 postseason starts, Verlander holds a 4.22 ERA. In his last postseason start, he got knocked around a bit to the tune of five earned runs in 4 innings by the San Francisco Giants. You can be sure Verlander wants redemption, and Gray has nothing but respect for the veteran.
“It seemed to be that he (Verlander) was the only guy people were talking about,” Gray told Joe Stiglich, speaking about his days as a pitcher with Vanderbilt. “I remember we were at some restaurant on the road and just watching him pitch and watching him throw 100 miles an hour in the ninth inning.”
So youth and a guy looking to prove himself takes on the All Star veteran looking to avenge his last postseason start. An interesting matchup indeed.