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Bradley has command issues, but limits damage

Righty gives up four runs on nine hits in D-backs' finale victory
Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- Since joining the D-backs' organization as a first-round Draft pick in 2011, fastball command has been Archie Bradley's main goal. On Thursday afternoon during his second start since being struck in the face by a liner, it became evident that he didn't quite have it as the Marlins jumped out to a first-inning lead on four hits and a walk.

Still, Bradley battled and gave his club five innings, as Arizona came back for a 7-6 victory to clinch the rare four-game series road sweep.

Full Game Coverage

MIAMI -- Since joining the D-backs' organization as a first-round Draft pick in 2011, fastball command has been Archie Bradley's main goal. On Thursday afternoon during his second start since being struck in the face by a liner, it became evident that he didn't quite have it as the Marlins jumped out to a first-inning lead on four hits and a walk.

Still, Bradley battled and gave his club five innings, as Arizona came back for a 7-6 victory to clinch the rare four-game series road sweep.

Full Game Coverage

"It's just about getting back to being more consistent," Bradley said. "I'll have it for a couple hitters and then lose it for three or four pitches, and it results in a walk or me being behind in the count and having to throw balls in the middle of the plate. It's just about being more consistent, finding the rhythm I had in Spring Training. Maybe I'll look at some film of that. Just getting back to being more consistent, getting ahead in counts and not having to work from behind as much."

Bradley allowed four runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks. He threw 86 pitches (57 strikes). But he limited the damage and kept his team in the game.

After allowing the leadoff man to reach in consecutive innings, Bradley worked out of jams in both the second and third. Over three of his final four frames, he stranded runners at third as the score remained 4-2 in Miami's favor.

"Archie battled," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "Again, location was a problem. Basically the first time around, he was a one-trick pony, throwing all fastballs almost. They got some flare hits off of him, but because he was up in the zone. Good hitters -- when they get jammed, they're going to get hits. I think he made some adjustments the second, third time around and was able to get around to five innings. That was huge today. In the second inning, I thought maybe we were going to have to get him out in the third."

In Hale's analysis, Bradley's curveball has been unreliable since returning from the injury. Before taking a liner to the face on April 28, he was able to mix the pitch. In order to succeed at this level, Hale said Bradley "must be able to throw his three pitches."

As for Bradley, he can't pinpoint the reason for his command struggles.

"My sim game, I threw the ball well," Bradley said. "My bullpens since then, I've thrown the ball well. I don't know if it's just the way I'm starting the game or what necessarily is the problem. It's just about figuring it out. I'll take a look at some things. I'll talk to [pitching coach Mike Harkey] on the plane trip home and start getting ready for St. Louis, but I feel like it's just a minor adjustment. It's a little thing, and once I get it fixed, I'll be right back to where I was and filling up the count and getting ahead in the count and putting guys away."

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Archie Bradley