Bradley's stumble atypical, but not worrisome

Bradley's stumble atypical, but not worrisome

ATLANTA -- It would be hard to have had a better first half of the season than D-backs setup man Archie Bradley, which is why the two runs the Braves managed to score off him in their 4-3 win Friday night stunned the Arizona clubhouse.

"He kind of spoils us," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "He gets through things so easily, so clean. So when he has a little moment like that you wonder what's wrong, but there's really nothing wrong. They just hit some quality pitches. They did what they had to."

As Bradley piled up the zeros this season, he began to see action later and later in games until he settled in as the D-backs' eighth-inning setup man.

Friday, after grabbing a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth, Arizona turned the game over to Bradley, who had allowed just one earned run over his last 19 innings pitched.

An infield single by Ender Inciarte started the rally. It was followed by a double to right by Brandon Phillips.

That brought Freddie Freeman to the plate and he fought off an inside pitch to left for a single. Inciarte scored easily, but Phillips fell while rounding third. He was still able to score, however, when Gregor Blanco, unaware of Phillips' slip, lobbed the ball to second.

"Not the way you want to start the second half," Bradley said. "That's the kind of situation you want to be in. We earned that run to take the lead, come in to face the heart of their lineup and they just beat me today. I'm sure I made a few mistakes. I didn't look at the pitches yet. I felt good. I felt like I was in control of what I was doing. They hit the ball and that happens sometimes."

The pitch to Phillips was an outside fastball, but it the inside fastball to Freeman had Bradley more upset.

"I was trying to go way up and in," Bradley said. "I was trying to move him off the dish. I think it just ran back over the plate. In that situation, 0-1, you have to make a better pitch than that."

The last time Bradley allowed more than a single run in an outing was Oct. 1, 2016. He finished the first half with a 1.10 ERA, the lowest by an Arizona reliever in club history (minimum 20 appearances).

"I think Brandon Phillips was the key moment in that inning and he's an experienced player and he knew what he had to do to put the barrel on the ball," Lovullo said. "Sometimes you have to give the other team credit. Archie's our guy. He'll get that ball every time in the eighth inning."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.