Kyle Bradish struck out his first major league batter tonight. DL Hall struck out the side in the first inning about 35 miles away in Aberdeen.
Orioles pitching prospects dueling without being on the same field.
They’re on the same side of the rebuild, providing fuel that’s supposed to speed the organization through it.
Bradish kept the Red Sox scoreless in five of his six innings in a 3-1 loss before an announced crowd of 15,685 at Camden Yards. He allowed three runs, two earned, and five hits, with one walk and two strikeouts.
Ryan Mountcastle broke up the shutout with a 423-foot home run off Hansel Robles leading off the ninth, the ball clearing the left field fence with plenty of room to spare. Somebody had to do it. Mountcastle is the first.
Hall worked with catcher Adley Rutschman to produce four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out six batters. He threw 54 pitches as he builds toward a return to Double-A Bowie.
At least the Single-A IronBirds weren’t being completely shut down by their opposing pitcher.
Veteran left-hander Rich Hill retired the first 12, his loud grunts accompanying every Frisbee chucked to the plate, before Austin Hays led off the fifth with an infield hit. Hill came out of the game at only 50 pitches.
Manager Brandon Hyde let Bradish stay for 81, an easy call with the right-hander retiring the last 10 batters and 13 of 14.
The Red Sox did nothing against him after Rafael Devers’ two-out double in the third. Bradish’s fastball touched 97 mph in the first and pretty much sat at 93-96 mph.
“Everything I imagined and then some. It was awesome,” Bradish said, after lingering on the field to speak with family and friends, a cheering section that included his wife, parents, in-laws and three uncles.
“Right now, just living in the moment … probably break it down tomorrow. But right now, just embracing all of it.”
Bradish admitted to having some jitters. Nothing unusual for him.
“I always get nervous when I start, but today was a little extra. Walking in through the bullpen is when it really hit me," he said.
“Just got to control your breathing, now that I’ve been pitching all my life, and it’s just a game, just on a bigger stage.”
Bradish, who learned of his promotion in a phone call from pitching coach Chris Holt, was making his first visit to Camden Yards.
“I was wandering the halls all day," he said, "and then went out during BP to get acclimated to the field.”
It began to feel real for Bradish on the walk from his hotel.
“The butterflies hit me,” he said. “And then when I got in here, media, and then when I put on that jersey and walked out there. It was awesome.”
“We saw that in spring training," Hyde said, "where he faced a really good Yankees and Phillies lineup and didn’t seem overwhelmed and seemed like he enjoyed the moment. I didn’t sense any sort of nervousness today. He looked like he was ready.
"I don't know him real well, just from spring training, couple conversations, but he's got quiet confidence. He just seemed like the moment wasn't too big for him today. He seemed like it was another start. I'm sure it wasn't, but didn't seem rattled by anything."
Bradish struck out leadoff hitter Trevor Story in the first on a slider that got past catcher Robinson Chirinos for a wild pitch. A double play, walk and groundout followed in a 20-pitch inning.
The second was a much ruder introduction to the majors, and it also was pretty weird.
Kiké Hernández led off with a bloop single to center field. Trey Mancini ran down Franchy Cordero’s long fly ball in right field, but Christian Arroyo sent a 94 mph fastball 408 feet into the Orioles bullpen for a 2-0 lead.
The area of the fence that wasn’t pushed back.
In hindsight …
Jackie Bradley Jr. reached on a ball that deflected off first base for a single. Christian Vázquez lined a single into right field and the ball skipped past Mancini as Bradley raced home.
Vázquez was out at third base, and Bradish was back in the dugout after Story grounded out on the rookie’s 38th pitch of the game.
A lot to digest early in his debut.
“It just really came down to one or two pitches,” Bradish said. “Other than that, I felt like I was controlling the zone. When that happens, you’ve just got to breathe it out. It kind of got away from me a little bit.”
The Devers double in the third didn’t leave a mark, and Bradish retired the side in order in the fourth. He struck out Arroyo on another nasty slider and pounded his fist into his glove.
Two grounders bookended a fly ball in the fifth. Bradish was at 74 pitches, and no one warmed in the bullpen.
Bradish needed only seven pitches to get through the sixth as Keegan Akin prepared to replace him. He walked off the mound to a nice ovation, his first major league start a quality one.
“It was a lot of fun to watch him pitch,” Hyde said. “He’s obviously got great stuff. Four good pitches. Mid-90s fastball, two good breaking balls, changeup was effective. He was a little fastball-heavy early in the game. They were really aggressive on him in the second inning, but really settled down nicely. Threw some great breaking balls, kept them off-balance. Going six innings in your first start against the Boston Red Sox, giving up two runs, that’s really impressive.”
Ramón Urias singled after Tanner Houck replaced Hill in the fifth. Tyler Nevin, recalled this afternoon, grounded into a double play, Robinson Chirinos walked and Jorge Mateo struck out.
The Orioles loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh on Mountcastle’s single and walks to Hays and Anthony Santander, the latter coming off the bench. Rougned Odor pinch-hit for Jorge Mateo and struck out on three pitches.
Odor committed his fourth error with two outs in the eighth inning.
Hays singled after Mountcastle's home run to give the Orioles three shots at tying the game with one swing. He advanced on a balk, Santander walked with two outs, but pinch-hitter Chris Owings struck out for the 11th time in 15 at-bats.
The Orioles went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. They've lost five in a row and are 6-14.
That’s the present. The future is much closer to them now.
Bradish is here, and Rutschman will be setting the target for him soon enough. Hall and Grayson Rodriguez will join Bradish in the rotation.
“It’s definitely exciting,” said Akin, who tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings with one hit. “Kyle got traded over, but for the most part, Adley, DL, Grayson (Rodriguez), all those guys are homegrown essentially. Being with those guys for so many years and watching them mature, I remember me being in that spot at one point, so it’s definitely exciting to hopefully get all those guys up here and see what they can do.”