Even though Billy Chapel wasn't a real pitcher, Archie Bradley heeded the advice he dispensed. And it helped produce a complete turnaround.
The D-backs' top prospect tossed the first nine-inning complete game of his career Friday night, allowing an unearned run on six hits while striking out seven, as Double-A Mobile beat Jackson, 5-1.
Bradley, who hurled a six-inning complete game on May 2 against Huntsville, threw 67 of 105 pitches for strikes. Helped by three double plays, he faced only four batters over the minimum.
"I was throwing curveball, fastball, changeup and I had really good command of everything tonight," the Oklahoma native said. "My catcher, Rossmel Perez, did a great job behind the plate tonight."
Coming off a start in which he issued a career-high seven walks over five innings, Bradley said discussions with coaches proved beneficial in solving his command issues -- as was the mantra Kevin Costner's character held to in the movie For Love of the Game.
"My work in between my starts this time," the 19-year-old right-hander said of the difference. "I talked to my pitching coach, Dan Carlson, and my manager, Andy Green. We sat down and talked about focusing in. Kind of cliche, the movie thing from For Love of the Game, 'Clear the mechanism.' Just shut everything out, don't even see the hitter, just focus on the catcher's mitt and just really focus in on that. That was the approach I took today."
Friday's start reversed a four-start trend in which Bradley had not gone more than six innings.
"Very happy," he said. "I threw the ball well, but even behind me some of the defensive plays to allow my pitch count to stay down, to keep runners off base, double plays, the whole game in general, the run support, everything was real fun tonight for the team."
Bradley got a chance to appear in the Futures Game last month and worked a perfect inning for the U.S. squad at Citi Field in New York. The 2011 first-round pick relished the chance to pitch on the big stage.
"It's very big," he said. "It's a little taste of the big leagues almost. The stadium, the crowd, being on TV, it gives you some motivation. Not that I didn't have some, but it's like, 'Hey this is a little taste of what it's like, so let's go back to Mobile and finish strong.'"
Bradley lowered his ERA to 2.06, which ranks second in the Southern League. Across two levels, he's 9-5 with a 1.88 ERA and stands fifth among all Minor Leaguers with 133 strikeouts.
Justin Greene was 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI, while Nick Evans drew three walks and scored a run for the BayBears.
Chris Taylor accounted for half of the Generals' six hits.