The summer of 2023 has been one to remember for Aledo’s Cody Bradford. The best part is, it’s not over yet.
The lanky left-handed pitcher picked up the first playoff win of his career on Sunday, Oct 8, as the Rangers defeated the hosting Baltimore Orioles, 11-8, to take a 2-0 lead in the American League Divisional Series.
After starter Jake Montgomery gave up four runs in the first four innings, the O’s added another to start off the fifth inning, cutting Texas’ lead to 10-5. That’s when Rangers’ Manager, Bruce Bochy signaled down to the bullpen to send out No. 61.
Bradford threw 3.2 innings of shutout baseball, surrendering just three hits while striking out four before turning to baseball over to reliever Josh Sborz in the eighth inning.
“Changup was good today,” Bradford told MLBTV after the game. “When I located it down in the zone, I got some good swings. Then, the heater around the plate, as well. Keeping hitters off the basepath is part of the game. It helps the flow go. It helps you stay in a rhythm. The momentum’s huge. The flight’s going to be good vibes all the way around. Hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
And that’s exactly what the Rangers have done, defeating the Orioles 8-1 Tuesday night at Globe Life Field, their first home playoff game in the stadium that opened in 2020.
MINOR LEAGUE SUCCESS
Bradford started out the season pitching in Triple-A for the Round Rock Express before making his Major League debut back on May 15. Following the spot start, he was optioned between Round Rock and Arlington several times before landing a permanent spot in the Rangers bullpen.
While in Round Rock, Bradford made 14 starts this season. He ended up with a 9-2 record while throwing 74.1 innings in Triple-A. His 3.36 ERA, 65 strikeouts, and just 16 walks earned him dual honors as the PCL Pitcher of the Year and a PCL All-Star. Bradford joins Express right-handed pitcher, Robert Dugger and catcher, Sam Huff, as the first Round Rock players selected to the PCL Postseason All-Stars since 2019.
Since making his debut for the Rangers back in May, Bradford made 20 appearances on the bump for the hometown team. In those outings he made eight starts, tossed 56 innings, recorded 51 strikeouts with a 5.30 ERA while earning four wins in seven decisions.
“He is doing great things for his ball club,” said Bearcat baseball head coach, Chad Barry, who helped Bradford hone his craft during his prep baseball career here in Aledo. “He’s always been a hard-working guy. I think a lot of his success can be attributed to his mindset of working hard to get better every day. All the success he has had and the success he will have, has all been earned. He put the work in here growing up, and I imagine he is still putting in the work every day with the Rangers.”
“I’m so happy for him! Couldn’t happen to a better man,” Barry added.
HOW IT STARTED
Bradford’s love of baseball and dreams of being a big-league pitcher began while playing little league in Aledo when he was age 9. After making his first ever pitching appearance he walked off the field telling his dad, who was coaching the team, how much fun he had and that he thought he could make his living as a pitcher.
The dreams that began in the hot summer sun in a small north Texas town of pitching for his favorite team one day have come full circle as he and the rest of the Texas Rangers make their postseason run in hopes of making it back to the World Series for the first time since the team fell to the St. Louis Cardinals back in 2011.
“It’s a blessing from God,” Bradford said during an interview with Fox 4. “To be drafted from a hometown team, it’s incredible to get to play for them. Especially in the postseason, on this stage. I have no words that can describe it. I’m just very grateful.”
The Rangers will begin the American League Championship Series on the road Sunday, Oct. 15, against either their rival and defending world champion Houston Astros or the Minnesota Twins. Those teams were playing in their best-of-five series at press time in Minnesota with the Astros having a 2-1 edge.
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