NEW YORK (AP) — Miguel Gonzalez is enjoying the Baltimore Orioles' October attire.
After spending more than seven years bouncing around the minor leagues and recovering from injuries, he's not letting a thing get past him during his first playoff experience.
"The postseason sweater. That's what all the pitchers and most of the guys were wearing," Gonzalez said. "It was a great feeling. Got the chills. Got the adrenaline going, even though I wasn't playing."
Now the rookie right-hander is taking off his sweater and getting ready to pitch Wednesday night in Game 3 of the AL division series against the New York Yankees. The best-of-five matchup is tied at 1.
Gonzalez (9-4) will have a chance to put these unflappable Birds one win from their first trip to the AL championship series since 1997. He goes against Hiroki Kuroda (16-11) of the Yankees.
The 28-year-old Gonzalez has gone from being released by the Red Sox in December to perhaps the Orioles' most consistent pitcher down the stretch, finishing 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA since Aug. 10. During that run he held the Yankees in check for seven brilliant shutout innings and took a two-hitter into the seventh inning against the Blue Jays on the next-to-last-day of the season, helping lock up a wild-card spot.
"Miguel has put himself in a position to contribute, and he's a great story about perseverance and just a strong will to succeed. He cares about winning. It's not about himself, it's about impacting the game on the four days he doesn't pitch, his teammates," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's always got a smile on his face, and he's a guy that's not going to wither from the competition, that's not going to have anxiety about things, he trusts himself and he trusts his teammates behind him. He's been fun to watch."