Those calling for Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Archie Bradley to be sent down to the minors got a little louder and received a bit more ammunition Monday.
Taking the hill following three straight starts where the 22-year-old has struggled mightily in his return from a stint on the 15-day disabled list, the hits kept on coming for Bradley in start number four versus the visiting Atlanta Braves.
Exiting the game with the D-backs trailing 5-0, Bradley lasted five innings surrendering eight hits and five earned runs, in addition to walking three and striking out one.
It was the kind of outing that has perpetuated a school of thought that is quickly gaining traction; the notion that Bradley perhaps isn’t quite comfortable on the mound after taking a line drive to the face April 28 versus the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field.
“His stuff is just not the same since he got hit,” D-backs manager Chip Hale said after Monday’s game. “Just has not come back with the same snap on the breaking ball or the confidence in the changeup.”
Now, in his four starts since coming off the DL, Bradley is 0-3 having lasted only 15.2 innings, posting an ERA of 10.91 along the way. This, of course, is in stark contrast to the first three starts of Bradley’s career; a three-game stretch that saw him begin with a 2-0 record pitching no less than six innings per outing, striking out 12 total batters to go along with a sparkling 2.13 ERA.
“Yeah, I haven’t pitched well since I came back, but I don’t think it’s anything from that,” Bradley said, refusing to blame the line drive that sidelined him for his current struggles. “I’m not scared. I’m just not pitching well.”
Once considered rising star in the making for a franchise desperate for transcendent young talent, Bradley’s brilliance has suddenly dimmed dramatically, with Monday’s performance perhaps pushing manager Chip Hale and the D-backs front office to send the Muskogee, Oklahoma native back to the minors in order to get right.
The book is anything but written on Bradley’s career as a D-back, but with his story taking a tumultuous turn of late, the next chapter appears to be laden with its fair share of mystery.