Chad Bradford is more than a guy who pitched one season for the New York Mets in 2006. The submarine-style pitcher might also be one of his generation’s greatest postseason pitchers.
Stick with me on this.
In case you don’t remember, Bradford had a 2.90 ERA in the regular season for the Mets. Good in its own way, he went into the playoffs ready to accomplish even more.
Chad Bradford was a great playoff pitcher even before joining the Mets
The 2006 Mets faced two teams in the playoffs as did Bradford. They began with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bradford, while ineffective when you really look at the numbers, appeared in two games and faced a total of three batters. He recorded just a single out, allowed a hit, and a walk.
As bad as it may seem, he did escape without allowing a run to score. And that’s the main basis of this theme.
Prior to 2006, Bradford had pitched regularly in the postseason for the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, and Boston Red Sox. He always seemed to find his way onto a team bound for the postseason. Although his teams always lost, Bradford never allowed a run—earned or unearned.
He had years of 0.2, 1, 3, 3.2, and 1.1 innings pitched prior to joining the Mets. For each team, Bradford held his opponents at bay. He had a lot on the line in 2006. Could he possibly continue his shutout streak?
After winning in the playoffs for the first time against the Dodgers, Bradford was ready to face off against the St. Louis Cardinals. He saw more postseason action than ever before in this series. Appearing in five games and a total of 5.1 innings, Bradford continued to keep opponents from scoring. Far from exceptional numbers, he did his job.
This wasn’t the end of the streak, though. Two years later in 2008, now with the Tampa Bay Rays, Bradford threw three more shutout innings in the ALDS against the White Sox. It wasn’t until the next series versus the Red Sox when he finally allowed a run. In Game 2 of the series, Bradford finally allowed a run to score. However, he wasn’t even on the mound when it happened!
To be fair, in the sixth inning, he did allow a single which plated a run but was counted against J.P. Howell. A leadoff single in the eighth versus Bradford would later score on, of all things, a wild pitch with Jason Bay at the plate.
The Rays would take the game and Bradford wouldn’t allow another run to score in the series or his two World Series frames either.
In total, Bradford’s career ended with 23.1 postseason innings pitched and a whopping 0.39 ERA! Even Mariano Rivera had a postseason ERA of 0.70. And you still think he’s the greatest reliever of all-time?
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