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Preview, #102: 7/23 vs. Orioles

Reliever volatility giveth, and reliever volatility taketh away...

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

Jonathan Villar - SS Jarrod Dyson - LF
Trey Mancini - RF Ketel Marte - CF
Chance Sisco - C Eduardo Escobar - 2B
Renato Nunez - 3B Christian Walker - 1B
Dwight Smith - LF Adam Jones - RF
Anthony Santander - CF Jake Lamb - 3B
Chris Davis - 1B Nick Ahmed - SS
Hanser Alberto - 2B Alex Avila - C
Dylan Bundy - RHP Merrill Kelly - RHP

Is Archie Bradley fixed? Manager Torey Lovullo seemed to suggest as much on the radio this afternoon, telling Burns & Gambo: “Archie’s role has changed into more of a high-leverage situation. He’s getting those positive roles. I think while we were picking him up off the mat for a couple games, he was getting those negative roles just to get his feet up under him, and he did a good job with that. So now he’s been in a lot of games where we’ve been even or ahead early. He’s bridged us to the back end of the bullpen, which is fantastic.” Things do seem to have improved: since his ERA reached a season high of 5.66, Bradley has shaved more than a run off, tossing nine scoreless innings, and striking out 14 in that time.

Last night’s game was notable, in that Bradley entered with the scores tied, after Alex Young was chased from the game. That was in contrast to the other six scoreless outings: all but one of those, were in games where he came in with a margin of three or more. And the exception was a one-pitch outing with two outs in the inning. In the series opener against the Orioles, Bradley gave the Diamondbacks two important scoreless innings, striking out four. It was worth +14.6% in Win Probability, which was his most shutdown appearance since May 8th. If the D-backs decide to stick around in the wild-card race, having a good Bradley would be a significant help.

It’s interesting to note Archie’s resurrection has come as the shine has gone off Yoan Lopez a bit. Through 38 games, Lopez had a 1.10 ERA, and seemed potentially the heir apparent to Greg Holland. However, that ERA was driven significantly by a BABIP of .182. Over the last three weeks, Mother Regression has hit Lopez hard: his BABIP in that time has been .409, with his ERA 12.00. There may be more to come, with Lopez’s season BABIP still significantly below average at .227. His fielding-independent ERA is a run and a half higher than Lopez’s ERA: that’s the biggest gap on the D-backs and among the top 10 for NL relievers (min 30 IP). It might be wise to quit Lopez in high-leverage outings, while we’re still ahead.