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Bradley excels as D-backs' setup man

Special to MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- The tying run was in scoring position and one of the Phillies' best hitters was at the plate in the seventh inning Friday night when the D-backs made another call to their bullpen.

"It was Archie's moment," manager Torey Lovullo said.

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PHILADELPHIA -- The tying run was in scoring position and one of the Phillies' best hitters was at the plate in the seventh inning Friday night when the D-backs made another call to their bullpen.

"It was Archie's moment," manager Torey Lovullo said.

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He was referring to Archie Bradley, the bearded right-hander and former starter who has become one of the National League's best relievers in 2017.

Bradley struck out Howie Kendrick in the seventh to preserve the D-backs' one-run lead in an eventual 5-4 win over the Phillies. He went on to pitch a perfect eighth with another strikeout. It was business as usual for Bradley, who has a 1.16 ERA, 0.810 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 31 innings this season.

"I've really embraced what I've been doing down there," Bradley said. "I take a lot of pride in it. We all do. And we're all doing it for the sake of our team."

A part of the D-backs' rotation in his first two Major League seasons, Bradley posted a 5.18 ERA and a 1.573 WHIP in 34 starts. So Arizona shuffled the 2011 first-round pick to the bullpen, and Bradley has answered the call.

Video: ARI@DET: Bradley gets Castellanos swinging, earns win

He's settled into a role as the D-backs' setup man, and he's been nearly unhittable in the eighth inning this season. Bradley has pitched 16 1/3 innings in the eighth this season. In the frame, he has not allowed a run, and surrendered just four hits and six walks.

Bradley has also recorded 24 eighth-inning strikeouts, thanks in large part to a fastball that sits at 96 mph and has touched 99 on the radar gun this season, according to Statcast™.

The D-backs were not sure exactly what they would get out of Bradley during Spring Training. But his success has led the team to use him comfortably in high-leverage situations, and kept him in his role even as the club had a spot open in their rotation due to injury.

"We quickly saw, once Archie was transitioned to the bullpen, that everything kind of elevated," Lovullo said. "The fastball spiked up. He was getting ready for the moment quickly. He was able to change his routine and understand what the role was going to be. And he has made this happen. We didn't know it would happen as quickly as it did."

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the D-backs on Saturday.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Archie Bradley