Evolution continues as Bradley deals gem

Evolution continues as Bradley deals gem

CHICAGO -- Lost in the shuffle of another loss -- this one by a 6-0 margin to the Cubs on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field -- and an ugly eighth inning in which the D-backs threw the ball around and dropped a fly ball, was an outstanding pitching performance by Archie Bradley.

The former No. 1 pick seems to finally be putting it all together, as he once again used all three of his pitches while allowing just one run on four hits and striking out a career-high 10 in six innings.

"Everything," D-backs manager Chip Hale said when asked what Bradley did well. "His velocity was good, he was moving the ball in and out, his breaking ball was very, very good. Kept them off balance, got in on some lefties and just moving the ball around. So really impressed, this is a good step for him."

Bradley lost out in the competition for the No. 5 spot in the rotation this spring, but he went to Triple-A Reno and went 5-1 with a 1.99 ERA in seven starts. To have an ERA below 2.00 in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League is not easy to do.

The 23-year-old, who was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 Draft, was called up twice earlier in the season for spot starts before recent injuries to Rubby De La Rosa and Shelby Miller got him an extended look.

In his two outings since, he has allowed four runs in 13 1/3 innings and struck out 19.

"I was throwing the ball really well in Triple-A and I just wanted to continue the things I was doing down there and carry it over to here," Bradley said. "I've done a good job with that."

Bradley's fastball has had more life on it this year and he's learned how to incorporate both his curve and changeup into the mix. Friday was probably the best example of that.

"That was my goal and what [catcher Welington Castillo] and I talked about doing -- getting ahead with multiple pitches and putting yourself in position to dictate what you want to throw and not let them have their pick," Bradley said.

Said Hale, "It's a good thing for him, he just has to keep it up. There are going to be some outings where he's going to throw some good pitches and they're going to hit him every now and then and he has to realize his stuff is still good and keep pitching with that confidence. This is a learning process for him. Shoot, we're excited to have him."

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.