The weekly article series where we examine the two players who deserve to strut their stuff for the Boston Red Sox. This week — Jackie Bradley, Jr. and David Price.
Now to fully understand what the Red Sox Strut is, it means to have reason to walk with a confident, proud air around you. Some people mistake it for vanity, arrogance, or being pompous. This incorrect assumption is not what we mean. The Strut is about knowing that your deeds showed off your amazing skills to the baseball-loving public.
POSITIONAL PLAYER: Jackie Bradley Jr.
Wow! What a week for the Red Sox! There have been seven games since the last Red Sox Strut, and it’s been an incredible run for Boston. 14, 13, 13, 11, 6, 6, 10 … no, those aren’t the amount of cheeseburgers Pablo Sandoval is chowing down on per day…those are the run totals for the last seven games. Just let that sink in. That’s almost 10.5 runs per game.
Needless to say, it’s a tough week to narrow down the Strut honors to just one player. In fact, I almost took the easy way out and allowed the whole lineup to strut their stuff. They are all deserving of some credit and recognition, but that wouldn’t be very fun for the sake of this column. So, let’s break it down:
Dustin Pedroia – 6-23 (.261), 4 RBI, 1 HR
Mookie Betts – 11-35 (.314), 10 RBI, 2 HR
David Ortiz – 8-21 (.381), 6 RBI, 1 HR
A very solid week for these three players. Big Papi added another home run and Betts had some electric base-running and plays in the field. Still, there were performances that were better.
Travis Shaw – 11-27 (.407), 9 RBI, 2 HR
Hanley Ramirez – 13-28 (.464) 6 RBI, 1 HR
Xander Bogaerts – 15-34 (.444) 8 RBI, 2 HR
Shaw had a great series against Oakland, including a 5 RBI game on Tuesday night. Xander Bogaerts had himself some great performances later in the week against Houston, including some big home runs. Hanley has been getting some good wood on the ball, despite his boneheaded bunt in the ninth inning against Houston on Saturday.
Still, one player stood out among the rest. Just two short weeks ago, he was allowed to Strut, and now Jackie Bradley Jr. is strutting once again. He had an amazing week and is simply on fire at the plate right now, so much so that John Farrell tweaked the lineup over the weekend in order to move him higher in the order.
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Bradley Jr. went 15-for-32 on the week, good enough for a batting average of .469. He also added 15 RBI, including two games in which he had six RBI. He also added three more home runs, one of which was a grand slam. His hitting streak is now at 21 games. Nothing is getting by Jackie Bradley Jr, both at the plate or in the field. You know that Jackie is truly deserving of the Strut honors because during a week in which the Red Sox were clearly the best offensive unit in the league, he still clearly stands above everyone else.
He has proven the naysayers wrong thus far, evidence of his having earned the Strut recognition twice already, and we’re only in May. If Jackie can somehow keep this up, he will not only be an All-Star, he will be an MVP candidate! Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s just let JBJ strut!
PITCHER: David Price
It’s obvious that there wasn’t much pressure on the pitching staff to succeed, since the offense was clicking on all cylinders over the last week. There were still some big performers on the mound for Boston though.
With Joe Kelly on the DL, Eduardo Rodriguez still not ready and Henry Owens back in Pawtucket to work on his location, Sean O’Sullivan was given the ball for two starts. He was just OK, going 6.0 innings and allowing four runs on twelve hits in one start and 4.1 innings with five hits and five runs in the other.
Clay Buchholz went 1-1 over the course of the last week. He only went five full innings against Oakland, but got the win, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks. Then on Saturday against the Astros, he was hit around pretty badly. He gave up five runs on seven hits, including a grand slam and also walked three batters. Buchholz has been very shaky all season.
Steven Wright had a down week for once. Wright earned himself the Strut last week, but couldn’t pull it together this week. He only went 4.1 innings against Houston and gave up five runs on nine hits and two walks. Wright just didn’t look to have the same stuff this week which can happen with knuckleballers.
Rick Porcello had himself another quality start against Oakland going 6.2 innings with five strikeouts and giving up just three runs on six hits and two walks. Porcello has been one of the best pitchers for Boston all season.
The bullpen had a fine week. They weren’t needed for big roles for a majority of the week since the offense was putting up huge numbers, but Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel all played a part at some point over the weekend against Houston in games that were much closer.
Almost by default though, David Price will be Strutting around the clubhouse this week. The critics were starting to come out and question the huge contract that Boston gave to Price. He even acknowledged that he hadn’t been his best and needed to make some changes.
That’s precisely what he did. He made some adjustments to his wind-up and delivery, and it paid off. Price gave up just one run to Houston on Thursday night on six hits and one walk in 6.2 innings. He also sat down 12 batters by way of the K.
In the face of adversity for really the first time in a Boston uniform, David Price rose to the occasion and got the job done. That’s exactly what he’s getting paid to do, and that’s why he gets to Strut!