Archie Bradley throwing curveball less because of fingernail issue
Archie Bradley has changed his approach over the past month and is throwing far fewer curveballs than he did at the start of the year and in 2017, which some have found puzzling considering he had a 1.73 ERA in 63 relief appearances with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. It turns out the adjustment is one that has been made out of necessity, however.
As Steve Gilbert of MLB.com notes, Bradley has thrown his curve ball on only 13 percent of his pitches in the month of June, which is down from 18 percent in May and 20 percent all of last season. That’s because the right-hander keeps cracking the fingernail on his right forefinger.
“Since before spring started, I’ve been dealing with a cracked nail that I’ve been having to get a fake nail on the whole season,” Bradley said Tuesday. “I would say this is like my 55th nail. The last road trip I had it replaced four out of six days.”
Bradley throws what’s called a “spike curve,” which means he digs his fingernail into the ball. That puts a lot of stress on his nail, and he says it has forced him to “get creative” and throw pitches he doesn’t want to throw at certain points in games. However, he has learned a lot about the pedicure market in Arizona.
“I’ve gotten really deep into the nail world,” Bradley said. “I feel like I’ve got a lot of knowledge and it’s just something at least probably for this year I’m going to have to continue to grind with. It is what it is, and hopefully I’m on a program now where I know what I need to do for the nail to stick together.”
Bradley said some outings are worse than others in terms of how the artificial nail holds up, but he has pitched well enough and has a 2.27 ERA to go along with 19 holds and three saves. Finger issues have a tendency to be recurring for pitchers, and it sounds like Bradley’s isn’t going away anytime soon.