DETROIT -- Jackie Bradley Jr. already had made two spectacular catches before he briefly scared the undermanned Red Sox by going down in a heap while rounding first base after a flyout in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday.But after the 4-1 loss to the Tigers, Bradley said
DETROIT -- Jackie Bradley Jr. already had made two spectacular catches before he briefly scared the undermanned Red Sox by going down in a heap while rounding first base after a flyout in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday.
But after the 4-1 loss to the Tigers, Bradley said he simply hyperextended his right knee after the awkward fall and he has every expectation of starting on Sunday.
"That's what I'm thinking," said Bradley. "I'm built like Secretariat. It's all good."
Bradley is gliding around the outfield like a great racehorse and has made at least one standout play in all four games the Red Sox have played this season.
"Oh man, it's a joke," said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "He's making plays that I don't know if anybody else can make. It's pretty special, the routes he's taking and the way he's getting the ball."
You don't have to tell Detroit's Nicholas Castellanos. Bradley took two hits away from him in this one.
In the bottom of the third, Castellanos hit a flare into left-center and Bradley raced in to make a diving catch. According to Statcast™, the 4-star grab had a Catch Probability of 38 percent. Bradley's route was nearly perfect, as he traveled 61 feet for a play that required 59 feet.
"I'm just trying to make plays. I want to make the outs however I make them --- that's all that matters," Bradley said.
In the eighth, Bradley robbed Castellanos in even more spectacular fashion, racing back to deep right-center and making a leaping catch against the wall. That one was also 4 stars, and had a catch probability of 46 percent. The hit probability for Castellanos on that deep drive was 88 percent. Bradley ran 117 feet to make the play, which is tied with a catch he made last June for the second-most ground he's covered to catch a ball in the Statcast™ Era. His top distance was 125 feet vs. Toronto on May 27, 2016.
Bradley's day of two 4-star plays is fairly rare. There were only 20 instances last season (by 19 different players) in which a player made two 4-star plays in the same game.
"He's unbelievable," said Tigers catcher James McCann. "He made a couple nice plays, but that play he made on Castellanos in the eighth, that was impressive. For me, he's a Gold Glover. He's special out there."
Bradley hasn't won a Gold Glove Award yet in his career, but he looks primed to change that by November.
"He's been exceptional in center field -- the range that he's covering, the ground he's covering ... whether it's coming in on balls or going back deep in the corners," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He makes a play in Fenway the other day that I don't know how he's able to stop in one stride like he does, but he's just an exceptional center fielder."
If Bradley can point to one thing he's doing better this season, it is first-step quickness.
"I've worked on it," said Bradley. "Definitely been working on first step. I just feel like I'm getting to the ball more powerfully. Other than that, I don't know if I'm better. I've just happened to make some good plays so far."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.