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Sedona Red Recap: Archie Bradley posts magnificent major league debut in D-backs’ shutout win over Dodgers

PHOENIX — The debuts of highly-touted prospects are all too often flat, not living up to the hype.

Archie Bradley bucked that trend Saturday night at Chase Field.

The top Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect and former No. 7 overall draft pick was remarkable in his major league debut, despite having to oppose three-time NL Cy Young winner and one-time MVP Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bradley’s night began with a 92 mph strike to Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins. And his first career inning ended with a strikeout of red-hot Adrian Gonzalez.

He was effective throughout the night, though having to navigate through a barrage of full counts, with all of the first five Dodgers hitters he faced working a 3-2 count.

“I think we were going for the record for 3-2 counts there for a while,” D-backs manager Chip Hale joked after the game.

D-backs center fielder A.J. Pollock led off the bottom of the first inning with a single up the middle to beat a Dodgers infield shift that had second baseman Howie Kendrick on the left side of second base and first baseman Gonzalez alone on the right side of the diamond. He advanced to second on an Ender Inciarte single in the following at-bat before Mark Trumbo plated him two at-bats later with a line drive to right field, putting the D-backs up 1-0 on Kershaw and the Dodgers.

Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier was the first man to reach base against Bradley, earning a seven-pitch walk in the second inning. Bradley, however, would get an inning-ending double play from third baseman Justin Turner two pitches later.

At the plate, Bradley didn’t hesitate to swing at the first offering from the Dodgers’ ace, hitting a single through the 5-6 hole on a 93 mph fastball. He was picked off at first base one pitch later.

The right-hander’s first real semblance of potential trouble came two innings later, when he surrendered his first hit to Kendrick, who doubled to the right field wall, advancing Gonzalez — who reached base on a walk — to third. With two men in scoring position, one out and a full count on Ethier, Bradley went to his curveball, getting a check-swing strike to retire him. And seven pitches later, another curveball got an inning-ending groundout from pinch-hitter Alex Guerrero.

The D-backs gave their pitcher more support in the third and fourth innings, with Pollock scoring again in the third after fortune favored him on a stolen base attempt when his cleat dislodged the ball from Turner’s glove, which was in front of the bag well before Pollock slid. Turner exited the game with a lacerated finger after the play.

The following inning, Pollock and Inciarte drove in Chris Owings and catcher Tuffy Gosewisch to put the D-backs up 4-0.

Bradley, 22, looked most impressive in the fifth inning, when he sat down the bottom of the Dodgers’ order in succession with three strikeouts. He worked around a Gonzalez walk to get outs from Rollins, Carl Crawford and Kendrick, heading back to the dugout after six innings, having thrown 111 pitches, striking out six, walking four and allowing just one hit.

“I knew going into that fifth, I had thrown quite a few pitches,” Bradley said after the game. “So I was like, ‘Alright, let’s try to get through this fifth.’ And I got through it striking those guys out and I was like, ‘Alright, I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be, so let’s go out in the sixth and stay aggressive and try to get through it as well.”

Twenty of the 32 pitches Bradley threw in the fifth and sixth innings were for strikes.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly pulled Kershaw in the seventh, after Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run home run to left-center field, extending Arizona’s lead to 6-0.

Reliever Brad Ziegler worked two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth before Randall Delgado scattered a Gonzalez hit in the ninth — only the second for Mattingly’s team all night — to turn in a scoreless frame and preserve the shutout.

The Good:

Bradley took some pressure off of the taxed D-backs bullpen by becoming the first pitcher on Hale’s staff to get through six innings this season. He was also the first pitcher to throw six innings, allowing just one hit since Miami Marlins pitcher Brad Hand did it in 2010.

The D-backs were effective against Kershaw, with everyone but third baseman Aaron Hill reaching base against the left-hander.

The Bad:

Owings has started the season 0-for-14 with a walk and six strikeouts. He may get a day off Sunday against right-hander Zack Greinke.

Hill was the only D-backs player to fail to reach base Saturday against Kershaw and he hit into a double play to end the third inning.

Stat of the Day:

Goldschmidt is the first D-backs player to homer against the Dodgers in four consecutive games. The first baseman hit a three-run homer Friday off Brett Anderson and homered in his final two games against the Dodgers in 2014, which came in mid-June.

Quoted:

“He did a good job. He got his first hit. He got picked off for the first time. And he threw the ball well. I think we were going for the record for 3-2 counts there for a while, but he gave us six innings. That was really important for us.” – D-backs manager Chip Hale on Bradley’s debut effort

Up Next:

D-backs Opening Day starter Josh Collmenter will look to turn in a better effort than he did Monday as he faces Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke in the series finale.

Collmenter allowed five runs on 10 hits Monday against the San Francisco Giants, lasting just 4.2 innings. The right-hander had a 6.87 ERA in starts and relief appearances against the Dodgers last year.

Greinke allowed just two hits and a run in his season debut Tuesday against the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers right-hander was 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA against the D-backs last season.

First pitch is at 1:10 p.m and can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

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