BY: ED COLE
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Archie Bradley has been in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization for five years. It’s taken him that long to get his shot at being a full-time starter at the Major League level.
Bradley got his shot on Saturday night, and it just so happened to be against the reigning NL Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw, and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field [Oh yeah, they also have the hottest hitter in the league in Adrian Gonzalez too.]
For as much hype as Bradley’s gotten over the last half-decade since the Diamondbacks selected him, if you watched him pitch against Los Angeles, you’d have to say it was an unmitigated success. Bradley gave Arizona’s bullpen some much-needed help, pitching six strong innings of ball. He gave up just one hit, four walks and struck out six, as the Diamondbacks were able to take down arguably the game’s best pitcher in Kershaw, and clinch the weekend series with the Dodgers with a 6-0 win.
“It was exciting. If you can’t get excited and get ready to pitch against Clayton Kershaw, you need to go get yourself checked out,” Bradley said. “I think very few times does he have a game like that, and we took advantage of it.”
“[I’m] not pleased with the walks or the pitch count , but for the first one I’ll take it. I’ll sleep ok tonight,” Bradley said.
Bradley was also able to help himself out at the plate, getting a single off Kershaw in the bottom of the 2nd inning. He’d eventually be caught in a rundown that ended the inning. Naturally, Bradley wasn’t happy he did that.
“That’s frustrating,” Bradley said. “Kind of feeling it, got the base hit and just sitting there. I thought he [Kershaw] kind of went back, until I took a step and next thing you know he threw the ball, and I was like, ‘Alright, well let’s go pitch now.’”
One of the things that helped Bradley keep himself composed was being able to work with a lead. Right fielder Mark Trumbo started off the scoring in the bottom of the 1st inning with an RBI single. That gave Bradley even more confidence knowing he didn’t have to pitch from behind.
“Anytime you get a run off Kershaw, you’ve got to take advantage of it,” Bradley said. “I know every time you get a run off him, if you can go out there and throw up a zero, it kind of builds your team’s confidence and confidence in myself, so that was big.”
Manager Chip Hale saw no nervousness whatsoever in his 22-year-old pitcher making his debut against the NL West champs.
“No doubt. It didn’t seem like he [Bradley] had many,” Hale said. “I watched him on the bench when he came back from his warmups and he just seemed like he did the whole spring. He’s a confident kid, so it’s exciting for him, exciting for the ball club, exciting for the organization.”
“We have great character in the clubhouse, and he’s part of that and the group loves him. He’s like the little brother that they take care of,” Hale said. “He went out there and did wonderful tonight.”