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October 7, 2013

Playoff Prospectus

ALDS Game Two Recap: A's 1, Tigers 0

by Sam Miller


Sonny Gray was sitting on the stage, taking questions, with a little mustache that Derek Holland would have made fun of and a voice that has never once been mistaken on the phone for his dad’s. A guy in a suit says “last question,” and about then Justin Verlander quietly walks into the room for his turn on stage. Verlander is showered, dressed, cologned. He’s wearing this suit,

and he looks like Ben Affleck accepting an Oscar. He looks as at-ease as Ben Affleck getting a popsicle from his freezer. Gray’s a little nervous, a little out of breath, his arm wrapped in a bundle of ice that's as big as a tumor that’s as big as a bundle of ice. As he leaves and Verlander arrives, they meet in the middle, and Gray puts his hand out, shakes with Verlander, who gives a pat on the shoulder to the kid who is at least seven inches shorter and $66 million (to date) poorer. It’s pretty cute.

Gray matched Verlander zero for zero, but it’s maybe not fair to say he matched him pitch for pitch. Verlander was unhittable: 20 swinging strikes, 11 punchouts in 26 batters. Gray was very, very good, but more unhit than unhittable. Only 59 percent of his pitches were strikes, only nine of his strikes were swinging. It’s a very minor distinction, though. Both pitchers were fantastic. And nobody threw a pitch I liked more than this one from Gray:

“He was able to use his angst and energy for a positive,” Verlander said. “A lot of young guys it works against him. That’s why veterans usually seem to do a little better in postseason pressure. He handled himself like a veteran.”

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Sea... (10/07)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL... (10/06)
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Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL... (10/07)
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Premium Article Overthinking It: Dusty... (10/07)

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