D-backs see upgraded role for improved RHP Archie Bradley

Jul 23, 2019, 3:40 PM | Updated: Jul 25, 2019, 9:03 am
Archie Bradley #25 and Caleb Joseph #14 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate an 8-2 win against th...
Archie Bradley #25 and Caleb Joseph #14 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate an 8-2 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on June 26, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Archie Bradley was, for a time, not good.

From May 1 to June 22 of this year, the once-dominant relief pitcher made 21 appearances, giving up at least one run in nine of them, and putting up an ERA of 7.83 over that stretch. His WHIP was 1.957.

But quietly, as he has been moved into lower-leverage situations and the team has gone with Yoan Lopez in many of its late-inning situations, Bradley has improved. The 26-year-old hasn’t allowed a run in his last seven outings, which have totaled nine innings of work with only five hits, five walks and a .172 opponents’ average.

Manager Torey Lovullo praised Bradley’s improvement in the lesser role while talking with Burns and Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Tuesday.

“Archie’s role has changed into more of a high-leverage situation,” Lovullo said. “He’s getting those positive roles. I think while we were picking him up off the mat for a couple games, he was getting those negative roles just to get his feet up under him, and he did a good job with that. So now he’s been in a lot of games where we’ve been even or ahead early. He’s bridged us to the back end of the bullpen, which is fantastic.”

Lopez, meanwhile, also 26, has a 2.79 ERA this season, which is the best among D-backs relievers. But in his last seven outings, Lopez has given up at least one earned run in four appearances, totaling eight earned runs on 11 hits and no walks for a 12.00 ERA, along with a .407 opponents’ average. On Sunday, Lopez allowed three earned runs in two thirds of an inning.

“We had a good day of coaching up Yoan yesterday and he’s been our guy,” Lovullo said. “He’s been, arguably, our best, most consistent reliever all year long outside of the past couple outings. So I don’t know if I’m necessarily ready to turn to the next level and switch it up. And this game is so funny. This game is unbelievable where three weeks ago, the world was on fire with Archie. But we coached him up and did what we could to put him back together.”

Bradley’s bounceback could be an encouraging tale for how the team could approach Lopez’s situation, but Lovullo said he’s not quite ready to change Lopez’s role just yet.

“But for right now, I believe in Yoan Lopez, I believe he’s got electric stuff, it’s just about not making so many mistakes out over the middle of the plate, sharpen up that breaking ball, and then he’s got to go out and get some big outs,” Lovullo said. “And I want to give him that opportunity. But I am open to a role change. It’s just right now, I feel like we have some things that are still getting ironed out and I want to get one more, potentially, another look, another couple looks at Yoan before I make that decision.”

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