- Programming note: Watch the full "All A's" interview with Chris Bassitt on Tuesday, June 8 after "A's Postgame Live" at approximately 10 p.m. on NBC Sports California.
It doesn’t matter who gets the start for the Athletics on any given day. If you glance over into the dugout throughout the outing, you’ll see Chris Bassitt conversing with fellow Oakland starters.
Frankie Montas will pick his brain, Sean Manaea will exchange words with him -- but some of the best advice Bassitt ever received was from a former A’s pitcher, Sonny Gray.
“Probably Sonny when I first got here,” Bassitt told NBC Sports California on "All A's." “Say I gave up like a leadoff triple or leadoff double, my mindset earlier in my career was basically like ‘I can’t give up that run.’"
Bassitt's problem was that he would do too much and concentrate on the runner instead of limiting the damage.
"Then I tried to get nasty to strike guys out and it kind of snowballed on me that inning so instead of trying not to give up one run, I gave up two or three because I walk a guy, or make a bad pitch and then another single and it just snowballed on me," Bassitt said. "[Gray's] mindset was always ‘If you get a leadoff double, let the batter move him over, get one out, and if he’s trying to drive a guy in, not so much let him try and drive a guy in, but understand what he’s trying to do, and just get that next guy out.”
Gray, who was with the A’s from 2013 to part of 2017, made it simple for Bassitt by telling him to not complicate things.
“Don’t give up three by trying to stop one,” Bassitt explained.
Gray earned an All-Star selection with the A’s in 2015 and finished in third place in AL Cy Young Award voting after boasting a 2.73 ERA with 169 strikeouts in 208 innings, which was good enough for a 1.082 WHIP.
The advice was much-needed for Bassitt, whose mindset completely changed from that point forward.
“It kind of was like an ‘Oh crap’ moment for me because I did that my entire life basically of trying to stop one run and giving up three kind of thing,” Bassitt said. “So I would say that was probably the biggest advice because it freed me up.”