BOSTON -- Fresh off a pasting of the Red Sox on Saturday, maybe the Angels felt a little emboldened to start Sunday's game.How else to explain Yunel Escobar running on Jackie Bradley Jr. on the first play of Sunday's 10-5 Red Sox win?In case you haven't heard, Bradley has a
BOSTON -- Fresh off a pasting of the Red Sox on Saturday, maybe the Angels felt a little emboldened to start Sunday's game.
How else to explain Yunel Escobar running on Jackie Bradley Jr. on the first play of Sunday's 10-5 Red Sox win?
In case you haven't heard, Bradley has a cannon. The center fielder ranged over routinely in left-center to field Escobar's liner on a hop. And Bradley came up throwing. Strangely, Escobar kept running after taking the turn around first.
After the ball had already landed in second baseman Dustin Pedroia's glove, Escobar was still eight to 10 steps from the bag. He couldn't even slide. The first out of the game was made.
"I'm not surprised," said Bradley. "They're an aggressive team. Guys are going to be aggressive and we're going to be aggressive as well. Anything we can possibly try to do to take advantage of, we're going to try to do it. I just try to come up cleanly and make a strong throw to second and an accurate one."
It would not be Bradley's last strong and accurate throw.
In the third, with the game still scoreless, the Angels had runners on first and second with one out. With a full count, the runners were off on contact, and Escobar again hit one Bradley's way, albeit this time with a liner to deep right-center.
Bradley stretched out his glove to snare the ball, and came up firing to second. The throw was on the money and Jett Bandy was doubled off to end the inning.
As he's done many times for the Red Sox, Bradley made a big play with his glove and his arm.
Nobody enjoyed the play more than winning pitcher Sean O'Sullivan.
"Well, you know, I knew he'd get it because he always does," said O'Sullivan. "But him throwing that ball back into second, the ball's in the air and I'm like, 'He's going to get him! I'm watching it come and I'm like, 'It's gonna beat him, it beat him, let's get off the field."'
Bradley has started 11 double plays since the start of 2014, the most of any outfielder in the Majors over that span.
"Both runners were moving," said Bradley. "Second and first, they were both going. On the play, I broke in and tried to go back up and I had to kind of readjust and head towards the gap. Got a good read on it and made a timely leap and made the play and just tried to throw it back in."
There wasn't much the Angels could have done about that play. As for the one in which Escobar tried to stretch?
"Leading off the game, Esky made the turn, but just committed too early and was out at second," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
For Bradley, scoring twice, getting two hits and driving in a run was perhaps more satisfying. The man who had a 29-game hitting streak in May had been slumping.
"I think they're both satisfying," Bradley said of saving a run and driving one in. "For me, at this particular point, I want to drive them in. I feel like saving them is something I'm going to just do. It's a lot harder to drive them in than just saving them."
The Red Sox will gladly take either from their center fielder, who could be headed to San Diego for the All-Star Game on July 12. Bradley ranked second in the voting among American League outfielders when the last round of balloting was announced. Final results will be announced Tuesday.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.