One can not savor the highest highs without attendant lows, something Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley learned last night in the biggest game of his career.
Bradley was brought in to last night’s NL Wild Card game to get an out to end the top of the seventh, then was left in for an at-bat in the bottom of the inning. Bradley, with two outs and two men on, ripped a scorching triple that sent Charlie Blackmon chasing it down in center, bringing in both runs for the Diamondbacks. Bradley became the first player in postseason history to enter a game as a reliever and hit a triple.
Bradley then had the top of the eighth to himself, and an opportunity to mow the Rockies down and take ownership of one of the greatest relief appearances in baseball history. Then, well, he gave up back-to-back home runs to Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. So, it undid the two runs he created himself, but status quo is better than giving away the lead.
It was a little curious that Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo let Bradley bat for himself in such a pivotal situation, but I suppose he was set on not burning another bench guy. He was put into a bit of bind last night when Zack Greinke nearly peed away a six-run lead in the fourth inning. Lovullo turned to Andrew Chafin to get them out of the inning, then made otherwise ostensible NLDS Game 1 starter Robbie Ray eat up a couple innings, then after using Jorge De La Rosa for an out, he finally went to Archie Bradley. Then he let Bradley stay on the mound and finish the eighth even after giving up back-to-back dongs.
It was weird. Questionable decisions were made. It turned out fine for Arizona, and they’ll go to Los Angeles now.
Bradley, despite playing for a semi-anonymous team (sorry), benefits from being very good, goofy looking, and having a comic-book name. It’s hard to forget Bradley, and he certainly left his mark last night on those who were introduced to him for the first time. When he removed his batting helmet and stared triumphantly into the crowd after legging out his triple, it was a true “Aw, man, baseball is awesome!” moment. When bizarre decision-making, wildly fluky results, and clutch heroics all combine to produce one memorable play, playoff baseball is doing its job.