A large key to the factoring of a pitcher’s success lies in the defense that plays behind him — obviously. For Red Sox pitchers, no larger examples of that can be seen than in the plays that Jackie Bradley has made in the first two games of the year.
The first Gold Glove worthy catch Bradley made of the year came on Monday afternoon. In the top of the fourth inning in what was still a scoreless game at the time, Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli tagged a ball off Rick Porcello headed towards the triangle — an absolute bullet.
Out of nowhere, Bradley came on towards the wall, reaching up in the air, practically over his shoulder to snag the ball, pin balling himself off of the home bullpen wall, saving extra bases and potentially a ball that gets over the wall.
Bradley’s catch would make a huge difference, as the Red Sox held on for a 5-3 win in game one of 162.
The second catch to mark the opening of the 2017 season potentially saved the game for the Red Sox in the second game of the season as well.
In Chris Sale’s first start of the season, a pitching duel brought the game to 0-0 after nine innings.
In the 11th with the score still scoreless and the bases empty, Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco lifted a shallow fly ball to short center.
Suffice to say, Bradley is on the early hunt for the Gold Glove in center field after arguably being robbed after last season.