TORONTO -- Rookie right-hander Kyle Drabek has pitched serviceably in his first two big league starts. But on Tuesday, he will get his first taste of pitching against a playoff contender as he takes on the defending World Series champion Yankees.
Thus far, Drabek has faced the Mariners and Orioles -- two teams well under the .500 threshold. The 22-year-old, acquired in the Roy Halladay deal, has tallied a 4.91 ERA, allowing 13 hits over 11 innings pitched.
Drabek said his start vs. the Yankees -- who are neck-and-neck with the Rays for tops in the American League East entering Monday's contest -- will be intense.
"I love when there are a lot of people, especially at home," Drabek said. "It kind of gets you amped up enough to try and do well. Big crowds definitely help out pitchers, because you know they're on your side."
That being said, Drabek acknowledged that there is a difference between being amped and overly excited.
"For me, I definitely don't want to be too amped up, because then I start getting quick with my rotation and things like that," he said. "But if I'm not amped up at all, then I'm just not in the game. There is a little fine line for me."
Following his first two outings, the right-hander learned the importance of attacking the strike zone.
"The main thing is you have to get ahead in the count," Drabek said. "In my last two starts, I hadn't been doing that. I had been behind in the count most of the time. That doesn't help you when you're trying to get early outs and stuff like that."