Brasier will serve as CR’s lone World Series connection

Ryan Brasier posted stellar numbers with the Kernels before an arm injury sidelined him for the back half of the 2008 season. (Photo courtesy of Cedar Rapids Kernels)

By Todd Brommelkamp/KGYM Radio

I’ve always been a National League guy when it comes to the World Series so you may not be surprised to find out I already know which team I’m rooting for in this year’s Fall Classic.

While the Dodgers lead the Brewers 3 Games to 2 in the Best-of-7 NLCS, the Boston Red Sox are already preparing for another trip to the Fall Classic.

And whether its Clayton Kershaw and LA or Christian Yelich and the Brewers facing them next week, I’ll be pulling for Sox.

You heard (or, in this instance, read) that loud and clear.

The reason? Ryan Brasier.

I didn’t know Brasier all that well when he pitched for the Cedar Rapids Kernels way back in 2008 as a member of the Angels organization and it’s likely you don’t know much about him now.

A year ago he was about as far away from pitching in a World Series as possible – both literally and figuratively.

The right-hander spent 2017 as a member of the Hiroshima Carp franchise in Nippon Professional Baseball, the equivalent to MLB in Japan.

Once a guy winds overseas, a return to the majors becomes the longest of long shots. Especially when you haven’t pitched in a big league game in four seasons. For every Miles Mikolas, who became an all-star with St. Louis this season after a turn in Japan, there are dozen of “Gaijin” who never return to professional roles stateside.

Brasier, who saved 9 games and posted a 1.59 ERA for the Kernels in 2008, debuted with the Angels in 2013 and made seven appearances for the team that drafted him in the sixth round of the 2007 draft out of Weatherford College. It’s likely that’s where his major league career would have ended after he underwent Tommy John surgery the following year.

He was outrighted off the Angels’ 40-man roster in October of 2014. After spending a couple seasons pitching in Triple A for the Athletics, Oakland sold his contract to Hiroshima.

Brasier made 26 appearances for the Carp in 2017, showing a revamped sinking fastball that routinely reached the mid to upper-90s.

Enter the Red Sox.

Boston signed Brasier to a minor league deal in March and the hard-throwing reliever pitched himself onto the International League’s All-Star roster in Triple A. Brasier got the call to the majors in July and has been a key middle reliever for Alex Cora’s squad since then.

Brasier endeared himself to Red Sox Nation by getting into a verbal altercation with Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez during the ALDS and he made a key appearance in Game 3 of the ALCS earlier this week, retiring the red-hot Alex Bregman to preserve a 3-2 lead.

Now, Brasier will get a chance to pitch on baseball’s brightest stage.

So excuse me while I cue up the Dropkick Murphys,  warm up some ‘chowdah’ and settle in for what should be a great World Series regardless of who the opponent winds up being.

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