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Game #45 Preview: 5/26, Arizona Diamondbacks @ St. Louis Cardinals

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Yesterday, we came within a wild pitch of edging the team with the best record in the NL, pushing them to extra innings. Can we do any better today?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Archie Bradley
RHP, 2-1, 4.00
Jaime Garcia
LHP, 0-1, 2.57
Ender Inciarte - LF Kolten Wong - 2B
Mark Trumbo - RF Matt Carpenter - 3B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Matt Holliday - LF
A.J. Pollock - CF Matt Adams - 1B
Yasmany Tomas - 3B Jhonny Peralta - SS
Aaron Hill - 2B Yadier Molina - C
Tuffy Gosewisch - C Jason Heyward - RF
Nick Ahmed - SS Randal Grichuk - CF
Archie Bradley - RHP Jaime Garcia - LHP

You can, however, certainly pick apart yesterday's game and say we were quite lucky the end result was as close as it was. A starter won't generally get away with two runs or fewer, when they allow 10+ hits, as Chase Anderson did. Indeed, since the end of 2007, only two other Diamondbacks have done so: Brandon McCarthy allowed 11 hits and two runs in September 2013, and Joe Saunders gave up 10 hits and two runs in August 2010, albeit the latter pitching eight innings. Perhaps the finest such Houdini act was Javier Vazquez from 2005: 6 IP, 12 H, 1 BB, 2 HR... And still only two runs allowed!

We'll be hoping Bradley can do better, though his couple of starts since coming off the disabled less have been underwhelming, to say the least. Over seven innings, he has allowed 14 hits and five walks, leading to eight runs, all earned. His K:BB ratio has been problematic all season, and currently sits at a concerning 19:16. He's just not throwing strikes; Bradley is at 59.8%, less than three strikes for every two balls (MLB average is not far short of 2:1). It's particularly bad on the first pitch, where he falls behind four of nine hitters faced. His swinging strike rate (12.7%) is also well below MLB average (16.4%), not what you'd expect given his stuff's reputation.

Now, this is not to write Bradley off: far from it. He's a young pitcher, and there are few of those who come out and flat-out dominate. There's a process of adjustment as the league learns their strengths and weaknesses, then adapts accordingly, forcing the pitcher to adjust in turn, and so on. However, it does seem a case can be made that Bradley - only in the rotation thanks to the late trade of Trevor Cahill - might be better served in the minors, honing another pitch for his arsenal and/or getting a better feel for his control. Certainly, many more outings like the last couple, and reaching the pre-season projected line for the over-under on Bradley starts may end up getting delayed.