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Game #5 Preview: 4/11, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

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After a thrilling walk-off victory, today brings the long-awaited major league debut of Archie Bradley.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Clayton Kershaw
LHP, 0-0, 4.50
Archie Bradley
RHP, 0-0, N/A
Jimmy Rollins - SS A.J. Pollock - CF
Carl Crawford - LF Ender Inciarte - LF
Adrian Gonzalez - 1B Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Howie Kendrick - 2B Mark Trumbo - RF
Andre Ethier - RF Aaron Hill - 3B
Justin Turner - 3B Chris Owings - 2B
Joc Pederson - CF Tuffy Gosewisch - C
A.J. Ellis - C Nick Ahmed - SS
Clayton Kershaw - LHP Archie Bradley - RHP

Part of me thinks, psychologically, it would have been better to swap Bradley and Chase Anderson. Setting up an Anderson/Kershaw match-up today, could trigger PTSD in Kershaw, considering the last time that happened, the reigning Cy Young winner had easily his worst start of the season. But what's done is done, and instead, Bradley gets a baptism of fire. Though it doesn't affect his task: he still needs to reign in an offensive line-up which has been pretty potent to date. But he's probably not going to benefit from above-average run support, considering Kershaw has now gone 24 consecutive starts since that meltdown, without ever allowing more than three runs.

That's for the hitters to worry about. What might we expect from Bradley today? I looked at the 29 cases over the previous five seasons, where a 22-year-old starting pitcher made his major league debut. The results, as you'd expect, were somewhat mixed: a 9-9 record. The bad news for our bullpen is, going deep into games was not a common theme. No-one went past seven frames, with an average length of less than one out into the sixth (5.16 innings) on only 86 pitches thrown. However, they didn't pitch badly, with an ERA of 3.91, allowing 2.24 earned runs on 5.24 hits and 2.14 walks, though with just 3.21 strikeouts. The average Game Score was 54.

This does conceal a wide range of outcomes, and the good news, in six of the last seven such starts, their team ended up winning the contest. The list also includes a trio of Arizona pitchers: David Holmberg, Patrick Corbin and Jarrod Parker., and the Diamondbacks won all three of those games, although Corbin was the only one to get the decision. While it would be nice for Bradley to get the W, I would be perfectly satisfied for him to duel Kershaw to a mutual no-decision, then let the respective bullpens take things over. Kershaw seemed mortal in his opening start, allowing three runs on six innings: I'd be happy if we can repeat that off him.