BALTIMORE—Manager Brandon Hyde named Kyle Bradish the starter for Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers on Saturday at Camden Yards. He picked Grayson Rodriguez to start Game 2 on Sunday.
Bradish was 12-7 with a 2.83 earned-run average, third in the American League. He was 7-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star Game.
Hyde’s choice of Bradish to start Game 1 wasn’t a surpirse.
“Just the way he threw the ball this season and the improvements he made over the course of the year and the improvements he made from last year,” Hyde said. “He’s just had so many good starts for us. We love his stuff. I like his makeup. He’s pitched in some meaningful games down the stretch and pitched extremely well. We have a lot of confidence with him going into Game 1.”
Bradish said that there was some talk after his abbreviated two-inning start last Sunday, but he wasn’t told until Thursday that he’d get the assignment.
“I think it’s important to go out in any game and set the tone as the starting pitcher,” Bradish said. “Especially at home, being the first guy. So just going out there and set the tone and just let our guys know that we’re here.”
He pitched twice against Texas, and the first one was one to forget. In the Orioles’ fourth game on April 3rd, Bradish faced just seven batters, and his start ended when Jonah Heim’s line drive hit him in the right foot. Bradish returned after a 15-day stint on the injured list and threw six scoreless innings at Washington on April 16th. He didn’t think that his start to the season would lead to a Game 1 start.
“No, honestly, no,” Bradish said. “It’s kind of just a dream to be able to start Game 1 in the playoffs, let alone to be in the playoffs. I think about that. It’s come a long way.”
Bradish’s second start against the Rangers in Baltimore on May 28th was a better one. He gave up a run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings. That was the last time the Orioles faced the Rangers.
“Watched them on TV a lot, got really good players,” Bradish said. “Really good offense. It will be a fun series. Faced them a couple of times this year and last year, so I’m familiar with most of their guys. Really good offense.”
In the start after facing Texas for the second time, Bradish allowed three runs on seven hits in four innings at San Francisco on June 3rd, a start that changed his season.
“I had a rough inning and then got taken out at the end of the fourth,” Bradish said. “And kind of had a mindset shift. Just knowing that I can’t keep doing that. It’s hurting the bullpen, hurting the team. Just going out there, working for a quality start every time was kind of the mindset after that.”
In his next 20 appearances, Bradish had 15 quality starts (three earned runs or less in six or more innings). Now, it’s his biggest start so far.
“It’s an honor to start this first playoff game,” Bradish said. “I want to say thanks to Hyde and everybody else. But I expect—this is what I expect out of myself, so I’m just really looking forward to it.”
Note: Major League Baseball announced that Game 4, if necessary, will begin at 7:07 p.m. at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on Wednesday. If there’s a Game 5, it will be played on Friday night at Oriole Park at 8:03 p.m. Both games will be shown on FoxSports1.