What they're saying about Bradish's return and Orioles' series win over Yankees - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

What they’re saying about Bradish’s return and Orioles’ series win over Yankees

Photo Credit: James A. Pittman USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE—What happened? The Orioles took three of four games in their first series with the New York Yankees this season. After a total of 10 runs were scored in the first three games, the Orioles hit three home runs and defeated the Yankees, 7-2, on Thursday. The Yankees scored only six runs in the four games, prompting manager Brandon Hyde to call it the team’s best pitched series.

Kyle Bradish pitched for the first time in 2024. He’d been on the injured list with a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament. Bradish worked 4 2/3 innings, allowing a run on four hits, walking two and striking out five. Bradish threw 84 pitches.

“It was great to see him back,” Hyde said. “It looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. Just threw outstanding … It was awesome to see him back. He had great stuff in his first time up.”

The Orioles are in first place in the American League East, leading New York by a game, and they’re 12-0-4 in series against AL East opponents since April 2023.

“It’s still early,” Hyde said. “That’s a really, really good team. We saw how good their pitching is this series. They’re going to win a ton of games…They’re going to be a tough team to beat all year. Still play them nine teams. We’re off to a good start. Happy with how this series went.”

How did Bradish do? On February 14th, when executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias announced Bradish’s injury, an early May season debut seemed optimistic.

“Ever since we found out what was going on, it was full focus on getting back here and pitching here at a high level,” Bradish said. “It’s what I tried to do today.

“Very relieved, very hard mentally just knowing it was going to be a long road. I was going to miss probably the first month of the season. It sucks, but we’re back now. I’m healthy.”

In some ways, it wasn’t any different from any other start.

“Definitely nervous,” Bradish said, “But I get nervous before every start. I think that’s just anticipation. Being a starter you’ve got four or five days between outings to look ahead and get prepared. Once I throw that first pitch, I’m focused, I’m locked in. I’m ready to go.”

Bradish thought he had a 1-2-3 inning in the first, but catcher James McCann interfered with Aaron Judge’s swing, and Judge was awarded first bases. Bradish grazed the knee of Anthony Rizzo with a pitch and walked Gleyber Torres to load the bases. Alex Verdugo grounded to first for the third out.

“It was a weird, weird start to the game,” Hyde said. “It was a little bit of everything. It could have gotten hairy there in the first inning. For him to keep his composure and get out that with a zero, that was huge.”

“You could sense the excitement early on,” McCann said. “He’s back out on the field. I think this clubhouse was excited to have someone like Kyle Bradish back on the field for us. Obviously, he threw the ball really well. It wasn’t any different than who he was last year. It was great to see.”

How did it feel to beat the Yankees? There are still nine games to be played between the teams, but these games are important.

“Every series is important, right?” McCann said. “Especially in division. Division is important whether it’s the Yankees, the Rays, the Blue Jays or Red Sox. Taking three of four is huge, but again it’s early in the season, and you’re just trying to build off each game, each series.”

“Over a long season, every game matters,” Ryan McKenna said. “Stacking wins in the win column. That’s the name of the game. At the end of the year, you put yourself into a good spot. That’s what our mentality is.”

The Orioles and Yankees play a three-game series at Yankee Stadium from June 18th-20th.

“Try not to make it more than it is,” McCann said. “It’s just another game in April and May. Come September, it’s very easy to look back and say, ‘if only we would have won that game,’ or ‘if we would have done this.’ You don’t want to do that. We’re very happy to leave that series winning three of four.”

Who hit the home runs? The Orioles’ home runs were hit by Ryan Mountcastle, a home run hitter, and Jorge Mateo and Ryan McKenna, who aren’t.

“We’ve got a lot of good hitters,” McKenna said. “Homers are going to happen with good approaches to other guys here. For sure, it’s always good to get one and contribute.”

It was Mateo’s first since he had an inside-the-park home run in Oakland on August 20th, 2023, and McKenna’s first since he hit a game-winner against Seattle on June 24th, 2023.

All the home runs were against New York left-hander Carlos Rodón, who hadn’t faced the Orioles since May 1st, 2019.

“He’s a good pitcher. We made some good swings and did some damage,” McKenna said.

How are Austin Hays and Tyler Wells doing? Hays is on the 10-day injured list with a strained left calf muscle, and Hyde said that the outfielder “ran well, took outside [batting practice]. Hopefully, he’s starting to do some minor league [rehab] games here soon.”

Wells, who began the season in the starting rotation, is on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation.

“He played catch [Wednesday]. He’s still going through some more tests,” Hyde said. “As of right now, there’s nothing to really report.”

What’s the word? “With seven guys picking up the pieces of starts for us, we’ve done a really good job of keeping us in games and helping us win games.”­Hyde on starting depth

What does it mean? The Orioles finished their first of four series with the Yankees with a flourish and looked impressive.

“A force,” McKenna said. “Building off last year. The dynamic is about the same. Everybody loves each other in here, pulling for one another on and off the field. The team looks really good.”

What’s the stat of the day? The Orioles know it will be difficult to build upon last season’s 101 wins, but their current .645 winning percentage extrapolates to 104 wins.

What’s next? Cole Irvin (2-1, 3.49) will face Hunter Greene (1-2, 3.63) on Friday night when the Orioles begin a three-game series  against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark. Game time is 6:10.

Transaction: To make room for Bradish on the 26-man roster, the Orioles designated right-hander Yohan Ramírez for assignment.

Call for questions: Each weekday, I’ll be answering at least one Orioles’ question. Please send yours to: [email protected]

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