Bridwell finishes breakout season on high note

Right-hander leads all American League rookie starters with 10 wins

Bridwell finishes breakout season on high note

ANAHEIM -- Parker Bridwell capped his breakout rookie campaign on a high note, tossing seven scoreless innings to lead the Angels to a 6-2 victory over the Mariners in Sunday afternoon's regular-season finale at Angel Stadium.

In his 20th and final start of the season, Bridwell held the Mariners to three singles while walking one and striking out three. He outdueled Mariners left-hander James Paxton, who worked six spotless innings before the Angels broke the game open by scoring six runs in the seventh against Seattle's bullpen.

Bridwell finished the season with a 3.64 ERA over 121 innings and led all American League rookies with 10 victories. It was a remarkable rise for the 26-year-old right-hander, who began the year pitching out of the bullpen for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate before the Angels acquired him for cash considerations in April to restore their depleted pitching depth.

After lengthening him out in the Minors, the Angels inserted Bridwell into their rotation and watched him develop into one of their most reliable arms. The Halos went 17-3 in games started by Bridwell, who yielded two runs or fewer in 14 of his 21 appearances this season.

"I think he pitched to his potential," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think that this is a guy that was overwhelmed. I think he can do so much with the baseball that just getting the opportunity was what he was waiting for. You look at the fact of where he came from, in the bullpen in the Minor Leagues, and all of a sudden he comes here and wins 10 games. He just needed the opportunity.

"Parker's worked very hard and had a tremendous first shot at the big leagues, and we're confident that it will continue."

Asked what he learned from this season, Bridwell said, "That I can pitch here. That I belong. It's just the execution of pitches is basically it. It's more location than velocity in the big leagues. I realized that before I got here, but after pitching four months, you kind of understand it a little more."

Bridwell's emergence, coupled with the improved health of fellow starters Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, Matt Shoemaker, Nick Tropeano and JC Ramirez, is one of the primary reasons the Angels believe they'll be able to avoid the same type of rotation woes that have plagued them over the last two seasons in 2018. That projected pitching depth also means Bridwell isn't necessarily guaranteed a rotation spot next year, though he'll certainly have a strong case heading into Spring Training.

Bridwell said his goals for next season are simply to maintain his consistency and "come in and pick up right where I left off."

"If that means I'm here, then awesome," Bridwell said. "If it's in Triple-A, then just keep being consistent until I get another chance."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.