Bradley changes spikes, shuts down Rangers
D-backs' righty has out-pitched three straight Opening Day starters
PHOENIX -- D-backs right-hander Archie Bradley knew time was running out on him in the first inning of Arizona's 8-5 win over the Rangers on Wednesday night.
After retiring the first two hitters in the frame, Bradley lost a feel for the strike zone and walked a pair of batters, hit another, then walked one more to force in a run.
D-backs pitching coach Mike Harkey called down to the bullpen in case another hitter or two reached. The high-pitched buzzing sound that the bullpen phone makes can be heard throughout Chase Field when the crowd is quiet like it was in the first.
"You can say you're not aware of it, but I heard the bullpen phone ring," Bradley said. "I saw guys start to get loose, and I was like, 'All right I've got to figure something out, or I'm not going to make it out of this first inning.'"
Bradley managed to get the final out in the first with only one run scoring, and then, well, he changed his spikes.
To start the game, Bradley used a new pair of spikes that he had never pitched in. He thought they looked good, but he just didn't feel comfortable in them.
Who knows whether that played a role, but Bradley locked it in afterward and held the Rangers scoreless for the next five innings before leaving after six with the D-backs on top 5-1.
"That's what I'm most proud of -- to have the long first and grind through six innings and leave with my team winning," Bradley said. "I think that's where you've seen some of the growth in me out there. Even though it still wasn't pretty, and I still had the walks and the high pitch count, I was able to make some quality pitches and put some balls on the ground for the guys up the middle to make plays."
Bradley got plenty of help from his defense, as the D-backs turned four double plays on the night, two when he was in the game, and the outfielders made several nice plays for him as well.
"Just hats off to my defense," Bradley said. "They made some great plays out there and shortened some innings for me, and the offense was able to back it up, and I was just able to grind through six innings."
Bradley, who was ranked as the D-backs' top prospect by MLB.com before the season began, is now 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his first three big league starts. He has beaten Clayton Kershaw and now Yovani Gallardo, and he was in line for a win last time out against another Opening Day starter, Madison Bumgarner of the Giants, before the bullpen gave up the lead.
The 1.45 ERA is the lowest ERA in D-backs history for a pitcher making his first three Major League starts.