Oct. 4 Sonny Gray pregame interview
Q. Sonny, what's your mindset going into this game? How would you compare it to the biggest game of your career? What was the biggest game you pitched before this?
SONNY GRAY: Probably in the College World Series. Through the first game threw for Vandy, and it was an exciting day. And I'm sure tomorrow is going to be exciting and there will be adrenaline going and just to harness that and to use it to my advantage is probably going to be a key to the game.
Q. Sonny, will you tell us a little bit about what you're thinking and what it's like the day before a game like this? What goes through your mind? What do you wake up thinking about this morning?
SONNY GRAY: I woke up thinking about the game tonight and how we got to take care of business tonight.
Obviously we have Bartolo going today and he's a guy that's, you know, really been looked to all season, since I've been up here and we're going to take tomorrow when tomorrow comes. Tonight is the biggest one so far.
Q. Sonny, how much will watching Bartolo tonight kind of help you and have you received any type of advice from teammates going into this?
SONNY GRAY: There is some advice, not too much.
I don't think anyone is trying to make it into something that it's not, you know. To us it's another game in the season. We kind of expected to be here, so we're going to take it one game at a time. And all I'm going to try to do tomorrow is just to not try to do anything different than I tried to do in Sacramento or not try to do anything different than I've tried to do since I came here.
Q. Sonny, you started with the River Cats in Sacramento, a lot of the guys on the team are also River Cats, can you talk about how playing for the River Cats helped you prepare for this series?
SONNY GRAY: The chemistry is awesome, it's amazing, and I think it's made it such an easy transition for me coming up here. Going back to Spring Training, it's been really easy to come up here and just jump right into the fire.
The guys have been, you know, awesome from day one, and I think that it goes to show you that we have not only a really good team here, but we have a really good organization.
A lot of these guys, like you said, have played for the River Cats, and they're up here now and it's really nice.
Q. What's been the biggest difference for you this year as compared to last year, especially the first half of last year when you were struggling a little bit with Midland?
SONNY GRAY: Yeah, there were some things we were working on last year, learning pro ball, throwing every fifth day, just trying to get better as a pitcher. And sometimes, you know, it doesn't all work, but you have to take what you're learning and be able to adjust it into your game plan and your style of pitching, and last, we tried to fix some things mechanically and whatnot.
And then going into the second half, we kind of adjusted it again and got back to maybe not take everything, but take some things that we were working on in the first half of last year, and really try to harness it for me.
I think we found something that's been working.
Q. Sonny, what do you think of when you think of Justin Verlander? And is he a guy that you've followed or paid attention to?
SONNY GRAY: Yeah, definitely, he's a guy that, going back to two or three years ago in college, we were watching him pitch in the playoffs and watching him. It seemed to be that he was the only guy people were talking about. And 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. And he was obviously a guy that we were just like, Wow, he's very impressive.
Q. The Tigers have a very deep lineup. What do you think is going to be the main challenges for you facing this tough lineup tomorrow?
SONNY GRAY: You know, I think it's going to be not so much them, but me. Like I said, being able to harness the energy and the adrenaline that I'm sure is going to be flowing and not try to do too much. Not try to pitch to their weaknesses or just go with my strengths, go with what's got me here and what's got us here as a team.
I think if I'm able to do that, then it will probably end up going more our way. And if not, then we'll see what happens. But I think just being able to harness everything and stay focused and not get into the whole, you know, 'This is the playoffs' and just kind of treat it like another game.
Q. Sonny, have you talked with Parker, Milone, guys who were rookies last year and starting for the A's in the playoffs? And can you gain anything from watching rookie pitchers pitch today in the playoffs, a guy like Cole today who plays for Pittsburgh? He pitched today.
SONNY GRAY: Yeah, actually talked to him last night. We played in college, and he kind of shot me a text today and I was like, This is weird. We're both throwing in the playoffs when a year and a half ago we were facing each other in college and I was like, yeah, it's weird.
I wished him luck and he wished me luck. And it goes to show you that you take it as another game and take it to doing what you have always done, just like he did today. You don't have to be overwhelmed by the stage of it.
Q. You've gotten away from the Championship a little bit. Is that going to be part of the plan? Or do you plan to stay more a two pitch pitcher?
SONNY GRAY: I don't know, we'll see what happens tomorrow. I don't know.