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D-backs’ Archie Bradley feeling confident after 6-out save

Arizona Diamondbacks' Archie Bradley and Carson Kelly (18) celebrate after defeating the Washington Nationals 7-5 during a baseball game, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Diamondbacks reportedly had pitcher Archie Bradley available at the trade deadline after Bradley had been struggling for much of the season.

Now he’s been one of their best bullpen arms for the last month.

It’s a stunning turnaround for Bradley, who had a miserable first half of the season.

In his first 32 appearances this season, Bradley had a 5.66 ERA and opponents were batting .297 against him.

Since June 26, he has not allowed a run in 14.1 innings with opponents hitting .149 against him. Bradley has only allowed six walks in that span.

On Sunday, Bradley had a six-out save against the Washington Nationals at home earning his second save of the season and completing the series win.

“He’s earned that opportunity,” manager Torey Lovullo said after Sunday’s game.

With how well Bradley has been pitching lately, his manager is ready to put him back into higher-leverage situations.

“He’s going to get the baseball at the back end of the game, sometimes he might have to close a game in the eighth,” Lovullo said.

After working with all his coaches and catchers, Bradley said he is feeling more confident on where all his pitches are going.

“I really have a good feel of where pitches are going and how to use them, I feel confident with all three pitches I’m throwing right now,” he said. “I was pretty bad a couple months ago and I really didn’t have any clue where the ball was going.”

Bradley’s improved command has translated in allowing fewer base runners.

Before June 26, opponents were getting on base at a .387 clip, but in the 11-game scoreless streak the OBP has has dropped to .259.

More opportunities have opened up at the closer role after Greg Holland’s struggles in recent weeks.

However, Lovullo said he is not ready to commit to a closer even with Bradley’s much improved performance.

“I know everyone wants me to say that he is officially our closer, but I don’t want to put that on these guys right now,” he said. “Those guys are throwing the ball pretty good, especially Archie, so we’ll keep it as is.”

Bradley and the D-backs will look to continue their recent success when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies at Chase Field in a three-game series starting Monday.

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