USA Today Sports

What a difference a week makes for Ryan Brasier

Rob Bradford
October 13, 2018 - 10:54 am

Exactly one week from the first day of this American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Astros Ryan Brasier was spending his morning and afternoon trying to come to grips with what had happened the night before.

That Friday night Brasier was introduced to postseason baseball.

"I don't think so," he said when asked if he would ever be as anxious as he was when called upon in the sixth inning of that Game 1 against the Yankees.

The whole scene was somewhat uncomfortable to watch, with Brasier clearly out of sorts while allowing both of Chris Sale's baserunners to score, allowing a hit and a walk while getting just one out before turning over a mess to Brandon Workman. It was far from the image the reliever portrayed while becoming one of the Red Sox' most reliable relievers in the season's second half.

But, as assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister explained Friday, "Adrenaline can be a powerful thing." Brasier seconds that.

"For guys who haven’t been in the playoffs before like myself the first series was really fast and we were anxious to get it started. But I think the overall vibe is a little different," Brasier said. "I didn’t really know what to expect and I feel playing in other places probably aren’t the same as here or Yankee Stadium.

"I think the game got a little fast. I was working a little quicker than usual in that first game. But Workman came in and bailed me out and the next day I got in there and I wasn’t as anxious. It was more relaxing that second game. Even in Yankee Stadium, it was easier to cancel out everything."

That Game 1 experience proved invaluable to the guy whose biggest moment throughout his professional career was probably nailing down a no-hitter in Double-A. His appearance in Game 2 resulted in a changed man, with Brasier going back to his dominant ways. And by the time that key sixth-inning at Yankee Stadium rolled around in Game 4 the postseason process was like riding a bike.

Now, thanks in large part to that game one week before, the anxiety has been put in the rearview mirror.

"I think every single outing I have regardless of where it is, spring training or the big leagues, there’s always some sort of feeling when you go in the game. It just times a million in that first game," he explained. "My debut. My second debut this year. All of it was nothing compared to that first playoff game. Especially the spot I came in that first game. I wanted so bad to go out and strike out everybody and it didn’t happen like that. I’m good now."