This past week belonged to Jackie Bradley Jr.
The Red Soxoutfielder has been on a tear at the plate, raising his average .129 points. It was highlighted by a 5-for-6, two homer, three doubleperformance in Saturday’s 22-10 win over the Mariners.
It was the first ever five extra-base hit game in Red Sox history. Bradley Jr. was very calm after the game, especially for someone who just made history.
“It was a good day,” he said. “I had a couple nice hits and hopefully I can keep it going.”
Acting manager Torey Lovullo expanded on what Bradley Jr. has been able to do of late.
“First of all, I want to say we’re all so proud of Jackie for what he’s been doing over the past several games,” he said. “He’s been grinding as we all know, and he has completely turned himself around and deserves all the credit. We ask a lot of him. He’s up and down. But he’s come up this last time ready to play.
“We get to see the look on his face when he comes in the dugout. He’s telling a great story. That story is he feels comfortable and he feels good about what’s going on.”
Going into play Sunday, he was on a five-game hit streak, batting .591, slugging 1.364 with 13 RBIs, three home runs and nine extra-base hits.
At the start of last week, Bradley. Jr. was batting just .121 in 24 games. Now, he’s up to .250. It’s not like he hasn’t performed in Triple-A, as he was named to the International League All-Star team and slashing .305/.382/.472, but he just couldn’t get anything going in limited major league opportunities.
What’s been the biggest difference this past week?
“Actually getting the results,” Bradley Jr. said. “Hitting balls hard and having something to show for it. As cliche as it sounds, when you hit the ball hard, you want something to show for it. It’s finally showing.”
Bradley Jr. has put himself in a position to be considered for the Red Sox outfield plans in 2016. With the team stressing defense, an outfield of Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo would be one of the best outfields in baseball. This could only happen if Hanley Ramirez switched positions,likely tofirst base – another story for a different day.
Regardless, Bradley Jr. is no longer being viewed as a “throw-in” in a potential trade, rather a player the team is trying to find a role for.
“We’ve had a lot of different times with Jackie,” Lovullo said. “He’s had a lot of good moments but nothing as special as what he’s had over this past week. I know the numbers dictate that what he’s done this past week is almost equal to his career, but we love Jackie and he deserves a lot of this credit.”