Bradley's cannon nails Bird at home
Outfielder's play carries over to plate with three-hit night
BOSTON -- Jackie Bradley Jr. not only makes standout plays on a near daily basis for the Red Sox, but his offense has turned into a significant plus.
Last year, Bradley made plenty of tremendous plays like the one he turned in Monday night's 4-3 win over the Yankees to nail a runner at the plate and get the Red Sox out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam. But too often, said great play would be accompanied by an 0-for-4 performance at the plate.
On Monday, it was debatable which way Bradley helped the Red Sox more: Was it his 3-for-3 performance that included a double and a run scored? Or was it his third assist in the last seven games?
There is no definitive answer, but the Red Sox are thoroughly enjoying the run Bradley is on.
"He's in a really special spot right now," said interim manager Torey Lovullo. "Defensively, he saves us by making a great play, catching the ball on his heels. You saw just raw arm strength. He knocks down the runner with the perfect throw. A couple of really key base hits in key moments, some two-strike approaches. He's a pretty complete player right now."
In the span of less than a month, Bradley has gone from a player who hadn't proved he could succeed in the Majors to one who is a clear part of what the Red Sox are building toward in 2016 and beyond.
Over a 19-game span that started on Aug. 9, Bradley is hitting .426 (26-for-61) with a .470 on-base percentage. He has also compiled nine doubles, three triples, five homers, 22 RBIs and 20 runs in that span.
The must-see Bradley play from Monday was in the top of the fourth. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a liner to medium-depth left field that had late life on it. The drive -- clocked by Statcast™ at 102.26 mph -- was hit harder than Bradley thought, and he jumped up a little to make the catch.
As Bradley caught it off his back foot, Greg Bird tagged from third and tried to score.
Even though he wasn't even close to perfect throwing position, Bradley rifled the throw home, and Ryan Hanigan snagged it on a hop and applied the tag to keep the game tied at 2.
"I think it's a little different here, because left field's so shallow," said Bird. "I felt like I got a decent jump. I think it's just the dynamic of the field here, where the left fielder's playing. And he made a great throw. Props to him for that throw."
Per usual, Bradley seemed the least amazed of anyone by his play.
"Yeah, it had some backspin on it," Bradley said. "I thought it was going to be a little bit in front of me, so I didn't really move much. It stayed true, had some backspin and I had to jump and kind of throw it off the back foot."
According to Statcast™, Bradley's throw registered at 92.04 mph and traveled 246 feet. Bird's top speed from third to home was 18.1 mph.
"I think he can throw harder than me," said winning pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, the beneficiary of Bradley's play.
It was Bradley's 10th assist on a double play since the start of 2014, leading the Majors over that span. In fact, no other outfielder has been part of that many double plays in the last three years.