Archie Bradley has had some start to his major league career, facing some pretty good pitchers like Madison Baumgarner and Clayton Kershaw. And while Yovani Gallardo may not strike the same fear into opponents like the aforementioned starters, he has absolutely dominated the Diamondbacks in his career. With a minimum of 10 games started, his 1.86 career ERA against the Dbacks is 2nd behind Kazuhisa Ishii. But hey, go get 'em rook.
Bradley started the first very well, getting a ground out and fly out to bring up Prince Fielder with 2 outs. But as soon as he retired the first two batters, his control escaped him. He walked Prince Fielder on 4 pitches. He walked Adrian Beltre on 5 pitches. He seemed to find his control against Shin-Soo Choo but then lost a fast ball and it hit him to load the bases. Mike Harkey made a visit to the mound but it didn't help much as Bradley walked Robinson Chirinos to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. But that was all the Rangers would get, as Bradley would escape trouble with a Jake Smolinski groundout. 37 pitches into his 3rd MLB start, and we were all wondering if he'd even make it to the 5th.
Luckily for the Diamondbacks, the offense was ready to play from the get-go. Ender Inciarte led things off with a single and A.J Pollock singled to Adrian Beltre who proceeded to throw the ball away and let Arizona tie things up at 1-1 with Pollock at 3rd. Paul Goldschmidt followed that up with a grounder to Fielder to score Pollock from 3rd and give the D-backs the lead for good.
Thanks to some great reporting by Steve Gilbert, we think we know what caused Archie Bradley to struggle in the 1st. He tried on some new shoes that he thought looked good, but were uncomfortable. After changing his cleats, he'd settle down and cruise through the next 5 innings. No player would move past 1st base even though he walked 2 and gave up his first hit of the night, a single to Yovani Gallardo. He was also very efficient, using only 45 pitches to get to the end of the 6th. Archie would be lifted for a pinch hitter and his line was 6 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 5 walks and 2 strikeouts while only throwing 92 pitches.
During all this, the offense was grinding it out with 1 run scored in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings. In the 3rd, Ender reached on an error and was moved to 3rd base on a single by A.J. Pollock. After a strikeout from Goldy, Mark Trumbo delivered with a grounder to score Ender and give the D-backs a 3-1 lead. In the 4th, Chris Owings would crush his 1st dinger of the year to deep left-center and increase the lead to 4-1. And lastly in the 5th, Goldy reached on a walk with 2 outs and Mark Trumbo lifted a flyball to right-center field. Goldy was hustling the entire way and when Leonys Martin fumbled the ball, Goldschmidt was already rounding third and scored. While it's debatable if Trumbo should've awarded a single, watching the star of the team hustle with two outs is something fans should notice. It may be early in the season, but this team isn't going to just give up.
After Bradley was pulled from the game, Randall Delgado would enter and throw 2 1-2-3 innings. Granted they were backed by beautiful double plays from Nick Ahmed, but he'll definitely take it.
The offense continued to score runs, which knowing how things would transpire in the 9th, were needed to say the least. Nick Ahmed broke a 2 for 29 skid with a hustle double to left and after Ender moved the runner to 3rd on a grounder to the right side, A.J. Pollock hit a deep fly ball to right field to score Ahmed and give the D-backs a 6-1 lead. In the 8th, a 1 out walk from Aaron Hill would proceed a triple by Chris Owings to score the 7th run and after Tuffy Gosewisch reached base on an error by Prince Fielder, pinch hitter David Peralta lined out to right field but it was enough to score Owings from 3rd and make the game 8-1.
Chip Hale would bring on Andrew Chafin to close out the game and as shoewizard pointed out, his release point was all over the place. Adrian Beltre homered, Shin-Soo Choo walked, and Robinson Chirinos would double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 0 outs. After a mound visit, Jake Smolinski would ground out to 1st after a beautiful play from Goldschmidt to tag out the runner. A ground out from Rougned Odor would score Choo from 3rd and cut the lead to 8-4. With 2 outs, Adam Rosales would hit a single and that was it for Chafin as he was replaced by Addison Reed. Rosales took 2nd on defensive indifference and would score on a single from Leonys Martin making the score 8-5. Thankfully for the fans, Reed would get Elvis Andrus to ground out to short to end the game.
SuperCoolGuy: A.J. Pollock (+25.1%)
Dweeb: Paul Goldschmidt (-5.7%)
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Quite the spry gamethread for a wednesday night game, probably because Archie Bradley was pitching. Our comment of the night goes to newcomer hventure for some playful banter with AzDbackfanInDC in his first GameThread. Welcome!
The Pirates come to town for a series with the D-backs at Chase Field starting Friday. If you haven't yet, there are probably some tickets left for our first SnakePitFest of the year. Check out this thread and express interest if you want to hang out with us.