Home News Kyle Bradish throws quality start in Orioles’ win

Kyle Bradish throws quality start in Orioles’ win

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BALTIMORE — The Angels once hoped to develop Kyle Bradish into a frontline starting pitcher, after they selected the former New Mexico State right-hander in the fourth round of the 2018 MLB Draft. However, his time in the organization wasn’t long.

Eighteen months later, Bradish was among the four pitchers the Halos traded to acquire right-hander Dylan Bundy from the Orioles, who were frequently dealing big leaguers in their efforts to stockpile young talent amid their rebuild occurring at the time.

On Wednesday night, the Halos got their first up-close look at what Bradish has turned into.

Bradish tossed another great outing during his strong start to 2023, allowing one run over a season-high 6 2/3 innings in his first career start vs. Los Angeles during Baltimore’s 3-1 win at Camden Yards. He gave up only four hits, including a leadoff homer to Mike Trout in the fourth.

“Outstanding, outstanding start,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

Despite Bradish’s ties to the organization on the opposing side, the 26-year-old said there wasn’t anything special or unique about this starting assignment. It was just another trip to the mound.

“Not really. I only had really one year with them, so didn’t have that big of experience,” Bradish said. “But the time I did have, I made some really good friends that I still talk to. So in that aspect, yes, but not really different from any other start.”

It was similar to Bradish’s previous start, though, in that he was extremely effective. Last Friday night, he allowed only one unearned run in six innings in a win over the Pirates. He built on that Wednesday, when he retired 19 of the 23 Angels batters he faced.

Over his past two outings, Bradish has lowered his ERA from 5.95 to 3.90. He’s allowed three or fewer runs in all but one of his seven starts, with his rough April 25 appearance vs. the Red Sox (seven earned runs allowed in 2 1/3 innings) beginning to look like even more of an anomaly.

It’s been a continuation of the second half of Bradish’s 2022 rookie campaign, when he posted a 3.28 ERA over his final 13 starts. The biggest key to his success has been his ability to throw strikes early in counts and to avoid falling behind to hitters.

Bradish threw 15 first-pitch strikes on Wednesday, including to 12 of the 14 batters he faced over the first four innings.

“He was throwing every pitch where he wanted it to,” said third baseman Gunnar Henderson, who went 2-for-4 for his first multihit game since April 25. “He’s been electric these past few outings, and I know that’s expected from him. He does really well, and I love playing behind him because he works quick and he goes and attacks hitters.”

Bradish’s aggression has led to far fewer “non-competitive pitches,” Hyde believes. Early in his MLB career, the righty had too many offerings that were so far out of the zone that hitters weren’t tempted to chase. That’s no longer an issue.

Hyde was impressed by the “ton of life” Bradish’s four-seam fastball had vs. the Halos. He threw it 35 times for an average velocity of 94.3 mph, per Statcast. His 96.8 mph heater he threw to Taylor Ward on a 2-2 count in the game’s opening at-bat (which resulted in a foul ball) was his fastest pitch this season.

Entering Wednesday, hitters were 9-for-22 (.409) against Bradish’s four-seamer. But the Angels went 2-for-6 against the pitch, with the only noteworthy hit coming from Trout, who got good extension on a high, outside heater that he sent a Statcast-projected 396 feet for a homer to center field.

“He’s got really good stuff,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said of Bradish. “Didn’t throw anything in the middle of the plate, threw a lot of strikes, and they were on the rails. Even the ball Mike hit was not a bad pitch. … We didn’t hit a lot of balls hard, but he didn’t give us many chances to, either.”

Bradish’s recent production has provided a boost to an Orioles rotation that has been getting better outings of late after a bit of a slow start to the season. Through the first nine contests of this season-long 10-game homestand, seven starters have allowed three or fewer runs in an outing.

Baltimore’s rotation ERA is still at 4.96 (10th in the American League), but it’s on a descent.

Although Bradish couldn’t get through seven frames for the first time since an 8 2/3-inning scoreless gem last Sept. 22 against Houston — his night ended Wednesday after his 94th pitch dropped in for a two-out bloop single by Brandon Drury — he was satisfied with the results.

“Very pleased,” Bradish said. “Any time I can get into the seventh and have a quality start and help this team win, it’s very nice.”

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