CLEVELAND -- The moment the Zimmer family has been anxiously waiting for finally arrived.
“I mean they talk about it nonstop and try to play out the scenarios of how it’s gonna happen and when’s he gonna warm up, so they’re obviously very excited about it,” Bradley said. “I’m sure they’re beside themselves that it finally happened in the Major Leagues.”
Kyle was summoned from the bullpen with one out and a runner on in the bottom of the seventh. His younger brother, Bradley, was four batters away from stepping in the box against him for the first time in a big league game.
In a perfect outing for Kyle, he’d hope to not have to see four more batters. But the one silver lining to him giving up three consecutive hits -- one being a three-run homer by Oscar Mercado -- was that Bradley was able to walk up to the plate. Kyle wished he had the inside fastball that Mercado hit out of the park back, but he had to move past it quickly to face his brother stepping into the box.
“He’s on the ropes. You got to bury him there,” Bradley said, with a laugh.
Their parents, Bradley’s girlfriend, Kyle’s fianceé and Kyle’s future in-laws were all in the stands for the big matchup.
“It was cool to have that happen in front of them, especially after last year not being able to have any fans there,” Kyle said. “It’s cool to have them here in person to be able to see that for the first time.”
They all had a taste of what this could be like a few months ago, when the brothers went head-to-head on May 12 in Triple-A and Bradley walked away victorious with a single. But this time, the bright lights were on.
Kyle threw a first-pitch fastball at the bottom of the zone that was called for strike one. He followed that with a slider on the lower corner on the inside part of the plate that put Bradley in a quick 0-2 count.
“No,” Bradley said in a jokingly disgusted tone when asked if he was expecting an early heater. “He threw me nothing but sliders last time.”
Pitch No. 3 was a ball and the fourth was fouled off before Bradley was fanned on a 94.8 mph heater in the first brotherly matchup in the big leagues since Brian Moran made his MLB debut for the Marlins and struck out Colin Moran (Pirates) in 2019.
“I mean I was ready,” Bradley said, “but like I said, he made some good pitches, so I tip my cap.”
So, who do parents root for when one child is on the mound and the other is in the box?
“You’d have to ask them,” Kyle said. “I’m sure my mom was pacing back and forth quite a bit. But I think I needed that one more than him after that previous batter. But I’ll go talk to them and see what they were thinking.”
The younger Zimmer may have won the battle in Triple-A, but clearly Kyle was just letting him get his confidence up before the real matchup took place in the big leagues.
“That was the plan,” Kyle quipped. “Executed it the way we wanted to. Going down 1-0 in the books against him, that’s what really matters.”
They’re both hoping there are many more brother vs. brother battles to come.