Archie Bradley becomes latest pitcher to knock off the reigning Cy Young in his first career start
When Archie Bradley made the D-Backs rotation out of Spring Training, he had passed one nerve wracking test. All that was left for the 22-year-old was actually making his first start. No big deal, right? Except he must have pulled the short straw and had to face off against Clayton Kershaw and his bionic left arm.
In front of nearly 38,000 churro-dog-stuffed fans, Bradley was spectacular. In six innings of work, he relied primarily on his four-seam fastball and darting curve to strike out six, walk four and give up only one hit as the D-Backs defeated Kershaw and the Dodgers. Doesn't hurt that Bradley was also able to get his first K against Adrian Gonzalez, who entered the game with five home runs on the young season:
Not only is Bradley just the 16th pitcher since 1914 to pitch at least six innings of one-hit, shutout baseball in his first start, but he picked up his first Major League hit, too. Given that he was a .395 hitter as a senior at Broken Arrow high school (I assume named because they have to watch "Broken Arrow" in class every day), Bradley knows what to do with a baseball bat in his hands.
The D-Backs' right-hander also belongs to an unexpected list of pitchers making their debut against the reigning Cy Young winner and picking up the win. In three of the last four times it's happened, stretching back to 2003, the young rookie has, like Theseus entering the den of the Minotaur, emerged victorious.
On Sept. 9, 2003, Edwin Jackson faced off against four-time consecutive Cy Young winner Randy Johnson, and came away with the victory following six innings of one run ball.
It would be nearly a decade before the next rookie won. On July 11, 2013, Danny Salazar defeated R.A. Dickey when he struck out seven batters across six innings in the Indians' 4-2 victory.
Oddly enough, it would happen again one day later, this time in the AL, when the Astros' Jarred Cosart pitched eight shutout innings, surrending only two hits, to beat a complete-game twirling David Price.
John Danks was the only one to finish with the loss, losing 3-1 to Johan Santana on April 8, 2007. No shame in that.
As for Bradley, there's not many ways he can top beating the three-time Cy Young and the 2014 NL MVP in his debut -- unless he slays some child-eating monster in a labyrinth, that is.