James Paxton is ready to embrace New York and all it has to offer.
“I think it's wrapping my head around it and trying to find my most optimal mindset out on the mound," Paxton said Saturday, “and I found that was being aggressive and attacking guys."
Paxton, who spent the first six years of his career with the Mariners, is scheduled to start Sunday against the Royals. He said before his last start — eight scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts against the Red Sox — that playing in the Bronx has its challenges. He’s mindful of how others, Sonny Gray being the most recent example, have been swallowed up in the notion that pitching at Yankee Stadium is unlike anywhere else.
“It doesn’t have to," Paxton said. “I think it's that new team, you're trying to prove yourself maybe and you can be wrapped up in that a little bit more than you should.’’
Paxton, who is 2-2 with a 3.91 ERA, said in his case it was physical and emotional. “I feel pretty good right now,’’ he said. “I feel like I found something in my mechanics that allowed me to stay on line better. I actually saw the mechanic thing that I wanted to change from previous games against Boston, mentally just got more aggressive, where I need to mentally be to have more success.’’
Paxton's pre-start ritual involves plenty of time watching video of the opposing team’s hitters. "I make notes on each guy. I kinda have an idea of what I want to do," he said. "They're major-league hitters. They wouldn't be here if they couldn’t hit. So I go in, I kinda watch their swings, read their swings, where I think my stuff will match up best against them, and go after them that way.’’