This is a public service announcement for the American League and Major League Baseball as a whole. If you hope to stop the towering juggernaut in Boston, you better stop Jackie Bradley Jr. It might seem like you should actually stop Mookie Betts from blasting home runs off of everyone, Hanley Ramirez from hitting like its 2009 and Xander Bogaerts hitting like the Ted Williams of shortstops, but those seem like monumentally difficult tasks. With Bradley Jr. mainly floundering at the plate, the Sox rank first (or are tied there) in the majors in runs scored (108), total bases (298), batting average (.287), on-base percentage (.358) and slugging (.485).
Now imagine if a lineup that already has MVP-level Betts, vintage Hanley and the bat of the X-Man once again (not to mention the power of J.D. Martinez) adds another All Star. That would be more unfair that a dice game at Goldpaw Casino. (That is a reference to Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, which is a fine JRPG for the PS4. You should go play it).
Where was I?
That unfair thing could be what’s happening based on what Bradley Jr. has done the last few games. After a slow start, that had him floating below the Mendoza Line, Bradley Jr. is on a nice little run recently. He is slashing .333/.400/.519 in his last 30 plate appearances, including this mammoth home run on Tuesday night.
Big night for former #Gamecock @JackieBradleyJr. 3 for 5, 2 RBIs, 2 Runs & his 1st HR of 2018. pic.twitter.com/3vzEu0Z4TB— Mike Uva (@Mike_Uva) April 18, 2018
That ball was absolutely destroyed. It no longer exists. It is an ex-ball.
Bradley Jr. has now lifted his triple slash line to .228/.313/.351, which still doesn’t look all that appealing, but is a might better than it was just a few days ago. While he won’t be hitting above .330 for the remainder of the season, the fact that he’s starting to get the barrel on the ball more often is a good sign. For the Red Sox at least.
As good as Bradley Jr. has been recently at the plate of late, he has not been as great on the base paths. (Cam Ellis; BP Boston)
Rick Porcello tossed six shutout innings in last night’s win. Pretty Ricky is back. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)
The homers are starting to fly more freely for the Red Sox. (Nick Cafardo; Boston Globe)
The Red Sox are Hansel. So hot right now. How sustainable is this? (David Schoenfield; ESPN)
Watch Rafael Devers crush his first career grand slam. (Doug Padilla; MLB.com)
Brian Johnson isn’t grabbing headlines, but he’s doing a nice job all the same. (Peter Abraham; Boston Globe)