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D-backs’ Archie Bradley reflects on NL Wild Card Game, season

The Arizona Diamondbacks led the Colorado Rockies by one run in the bottom of the seventh inning when reliever Archie Bradley stepped up to the plate.

“I’m looking at Torey (Lovullo), I need to know if I can swing at this first pitch,” Bradley said to Greg Schulte and Tom Candiotti Saturday at D-backs Fan Fest on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

“I look at Torey and he’s like ‘yeah, swing. Let’s go.’ I would have bet my entire career earnings that I would have swung at the first pitch.”

Instead, he swung at the fifth pitch from Rockies’ reliever Pat Neshek. What happened next sent Chase Field into a frenzy.

With two outs and runners on first and second, Bradley connected with the pitch, sending it into the gap in left-center field for a two-RBI triple. As he slid into third base Bradley turned towards the D-backs’ dugout and then to the cheering fans, pounding his chest.

The hit extended Arizona’s lead to three runs, a gap they needed after the Rockies homered twice the next inning to make it a one-run game.

The D-backs would ultimately prevail, defeating the Rockies 11-8 to advance to the NLDS.

Bradley’s success at that moment and throughout the course of the season all stemmed from a single pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Memorial Day.

The D-backs and Pirates were tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning. With Bradley on the mound, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen stepped up to the plate and hit a walk-off home run.

“It was the first time I was able to accept that I personally felt that I made a good pitch and he just straight up beat me,” Bradley said. “I had to look at myself and be like, ‘alright, let it go.’ Being able to truly be honest and hold myself accountable was freeing in a way.”

That moment Bradley said changed his career, adding that it was the first time that he held himself accountable to fix the error he had made.

Bradley went 10-12 in his first two seasons with Arizona, allowing 19 homers and averaging a 5.41 ERA. In 2017, he allowed just four home runs with an ERA of 1.73 and overall record of 3-3.

Bradley has the ability to compete for a spot in the starting rotation, but with all five starters from last season returning, he is comfortable in any role.

“Let’s go win,” he said. “I just feel like mentally I know what I need to do to be ready.

“Whatever role suits me best, or suits anyone best, I don’t care.”

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