Log in

Bradford off to stellar start against Astros


ARLINGTON - Veteran pitchers Max Scherzer, Michael Lorenzen, Jacob DeGrom, and Tyler Mahle are expected to return from the injured list at various points this season, so it’s likely the starting rotation for the Texas Rangers will look vastly different as the season goes on than it did on opening day. 

With Aledo-native Cody Bradford picking up his second decision of the season in a 10-2 win over the visiting Houston Astros on Friday, April 5, the naturally more-reserved left-hander is making his case to remain in the starting rotation at a fever pitch.

“I’d say he was pretty good, wasn’t he,” said Rangers Manager Bruce Bochy during Friday’s postgame press conference. “Impressive! Four pitches, great command tonight of all his pitches. He had a good mix going. He and Jonah [Heim, catcher] work so good back there. He had a good curveball tonight and used it well. It was a tremendous outing. And he’s coming off a very good outing. He’s throwing the ball really well right now.”

At press time, Bradford was the only Rangers pitcher with two wins, while his 2.13 ERA is second in the starting rotation behind Nathan Eovaldi’s 1.38. He’s also given up just three runs off five hits so far in 2024. 

Jose Altuve started off the game with a single for the Astros. From there Bradford settled in, with only one of the next 23 batters reaching base via an error. The next time the Astros were able to muster a hit was with two outs in the eighth inning as Jeremy Pena singled on an 0-1 fastball from Bradford. 

After delivering seven-and-two-thirds innings of shutout baseball, Bochy turned the ball over to his bullpen as Bradford walked off the field to a standing ovation from the Rangers faithful having thrown 7.2 innings with four strikeouts, no walks and two hits surrendered.

Manager Bruce Bochy congratulates Cody Bradford on a stellar pitching performance against the Houston Astros on Friday, April 5. Bradford threw 7.1 innings while giving up just two hits and one run in his second win of the season.
Manager Bruce Bochy congratulates Cody Bradford on a stellar pitching performance against the Houston Astros on Friday, April 5. Bradford threw 7.1 …

Yerry Rodriguez came in to pitch in relief for the Rangers with two outs and a runner on first. His first offering to Jake Meyers was hit deep to right field. Travis Jankowski raced back to the wall, leaped into the air, but came up empty as the ball sailed just out of reach as it cleared the wall in right. 

Bradford was shackled with the run as Pena crossed the plate on Meyers’ home run.

Bradford threw 97 pitches in the game with 72 of them ending up as strikes. Of the 26 batters he faced, he started off 22 of them with strike one.

“He pounded the strike zone all night - quality strikes,” commended Bochy after the game. “That’s a tough lineup to get through, and what a job he did. He’s pitching with a lot of confidence right now.”

The heart of the Astros’ lineup with Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Alex Bregman were a combined 1-for-13 in the game against the 26-year-old southpaw. When asked during the postgame presser about his approach to dealing with a deep lineup for Houston, Bradford said his philosophy was simple.

“It was just to keep them off balance,” he said. “I faced those guys a few times last year in the regular season and the playoffs. Yordon hit some balls hard off me last year. I knew after the game in the playoffs last year how I wanted to approach it the next time I faced him. He’s a really good hitter. [We] just kept him off balance with speeds. 

“I don’t have the stuff that’s too flashy. Sometimes 90 miles an hour can get you a long ways if you trust your stuff and hit your spots.”

Offensively, Texas was productive at the plate all night. The evening included Adolis Garcia hitting an opposite-field homer to right-center to extend his streak of homering in six-straight games against the Astros dating back to the 2023 playoffs. The three-run home run put the home team up 5-0, and gave Bradford all the cushion he needed to work his way through the Houston lineup.

“It helps me go out and throw strike one to every batter,” Bradford said after the Rangers two-out rally. “It gives me a little bit of confidence to just trust my stuff and not be too fine with it, and just throw the ball over the plate.”

The Rangers added another run in the fourth, one in the fifth, and three runs in the sixth when Semien hit a 395-foot home run to left, capping off a 3-for-3 night at the plate for the Texas second baseman. 

Bradford was expected to make his third start of the season at press time.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here