With two outs in the eighth inning, the Red Sox up, 4-2, and a runner on first, Orioles right fielder Joey Rickard rocketed a long drive to dead center field. Bradley ran to the wall, planted his right foot on the green padding and lifted himself while calmly reaching up to corral the liner to end the inning.
For some outfielders, this would be a shining moment in a career. With Bradley, it was basically another night at the office.
“I’ve seen him do stuff like that before so it’s really not a surprise but it was a great play,” said Rickard. “I didn’t get a whole lot. It kind of went further than I thought. I kept seeing him go back. I knew it was going to be close. I’m not surprised.”
Bradley made a four-star catch on a dive in right-center to take a hit away from Jonathan Villar in the fourth.
“Yeah, I mean, he won the Gold Glove for a reason,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “He’s the best defensive center fielder in the big leagues. Not only making those plays, but the awareness, throwing to the right base, cutting balls in the gap, shutting down the running game. There’s a lot that goes into the equation, and also, there’s a lot of work. Today he was out there power shagging, getting jumps, working on his routes.”
It says something about Bradley that he continues to play stellar defense while mired in a tough slump (.149/.196/.170) to start the season.
“You have to,” said Bradley. “If you're not doing it on one side of the ball you have to do it the other way. You have to do your job."
And about that whole wall-climbing thing, Bradley wasn’t impressed all that much by his latest feat.
“Just ran back and got a feel for where I was on the wall and timed it up, made the catch,” Bradley said. “I'd rather jump too soon than jump too late in that situation, especially knowing I can dig my foot into the wall and kind of push myself back up if I needed to. That is what I did. I made sure I got up there before it was too late.”
Was it one of his best plays?
“Nah,” said Bradley. “It's just an alright play.”