Stats & Info: Sonny Gray
October, 10, 2013
By Mark Simon | ESPN.com
Getty ImagesJustin Verlander (left) and Sonny Gray (right) struck out at least 9 and allowed zero runs in Game 2.
Oakland is 0-5 all-time in ALDS Game 5s and will be looking to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2006. The A’s were eliminated by the Tigers in their past two trips to the postseason (2006, 2012).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Oakland is 1-11 since 2000 in games in which they had a chance to eliminate an opponent from a postseason series.
Let’s take a look at some other storylines for this game.
This will be the seventh time that two teams have met in a winner-take-all postseason game in consecutive years.
The last time it happened, the Boston Red Sox and Yankees met in consecutive Game 7s of the ALCS in 2003 and 2004.
The last team to win the first meeting and the rematch was the Yankees, who beat the Athletics in consecutive ALDS Game 5s in 2000 and 2001.
The team that won the first winner-take-all won the rematch three times and lost the rematch three times in the first six instances.
Justin Verlander stats to know
Verlander has thrown three straight scoreless starts dating back to the regular season, with 33 strikeouts in 19 innings, including 11 in the Game 2 duel in Oakland.
He has faced Oakland three times in the ALDS in the past two seasons, going 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA. In those 23 innings pitched, he’s struck out 33 and walked six while allowing just 11 hits.
In his Game 2 start against Oakland, Verlander relied on his fastball and curveball to put hitters away. He threw 20 fastballs and 16 curveballs among his 42 two-strike pitches, his second-highest combined percentage (85.7) with those pitches this season. All 11 of his strikeouts came on those pitches.
Sonny Gray stats to know
Gray’s eight scoreless innings in Game 2 against the Tigers marked the fourth time that a starter has thrown eight scoreless frames in the 67 postseason games the Tigers have played since 1968. The other three are Bob Gibson (1968 Cardinals), Blue Moon Odom (1972 Athletics) and Chris Carpenter (2006 Cardinals).
Like Verlander, Gray relied on his fastball and curveball in Game 2. All but two of his 111 pitches were fastballs (80) or curveballs (29). That was his second-highest combined percentage (98.2) with those pitches in 11 career starts.
Nineteen of the 24 outs Gray recorded were via strikeout (nine) or groundout (10). None of his 10 groundouts came on fastballs, and five of his nine strikeouts came on his curve.
In that game, Gray became the second rookie on postseason history with at least eight scoreless innings and nine strikeouts in his first career postseason start, joining the Orioles’ Mike Boddicker in 1983. Boddicker had 27 career regular season starts under his belt while Gray had just 10.
The Big Bats: Cespedes and Cabrera
The big hitters for each team, Yoenis Cespedes and Miguel Cabrera, have had contrasting performances with regards to a specific pitch location.
Meanwhile Cabrera, who is 4-for-16 in the series and is battling injuries, has struggled to drive the inner-half pitches that he was crushing earlier this season.
Through the end of August, Cabrera had a .401 batting average and 27 home runs against pitches thrown to the inner half of the plate or off the inside corner.
But since the start of September, Cabrera has only 10 singles against such pitches, against which he is hitting .244. He has two hits versus such pitches in this series, both infield singles.
Justin Havens also contributed to this article.
October, 6, 2013
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY SportsStephen Vogt’s first career postseason hit was a walk-off hit.Stephen Vogt only had 34 career regular-season hits. Appearing in his first postseason, he had no postseason hits.
But his first career postseason hit was quite the notable one, as his RBI single gave the Oakland Athletics a 1-0 walk-off win to tie their Division Series with the Detroit Tigers at 1-1.
Vogt is the first player with a walk-off hit as his first career postseason hit since Carlos Guillen in 2000 for the Seattle Mariners against the Chicago White Sox, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Vogt's 34 career regular-season hits are the second-fewest by any player at the time of a postseason walk-off hit. The only player with fewer was George Vukovich, who had 23 career regular-season hits at the time of his walk-off, in the 1981 NLDS for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Montreal Expos.
Vogt is the seventh player in MLB postseason history with a walk-off hit to break a scoreless tie. The last player to do so was Jeff Kent for the Houston Astros in the 2004 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Athletics are the eighth team in MLB postseason history with a walk-off win to break a scoreless tie (in addition to the seven hits listed in the chart on the right, the Astros won with a walk-off sacrifice fly in the 1980 NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies).
The Athletics' 1-0 walk-off win was the first 1-0 walk-off win in an MLB postseason game since Gene Larkin's walk-off single for the Minnesota Twins to win the 1991 World Series.
Don’t forget about the pitching
There was a reason why the game was scoreless in the ninth inning -- great pitching.
Justin Verlander struck out 11 batters in seven innings, while Sonny Gray struck out nine in eight innings.
Verlander and Max Scherzer are the first pair of teammates in postseason history with at least 11 strikeouts in back-to-back games.
Gray is the fifth rookie pitcher in postseason history with at least eight scoreless innings in his first career postseason start, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Gray is one of two rookie pitchers in history (Mike Boddicker, 1983 White Sox) with at least eight scoreless innings and nine strikeouts in his first career postseason start.
It was the first game in postseason history in which both starters had at least nine strikeouts and no runs allowed.