Up: Jackie Bradley Jr.
It’s been a tough season for Jackie Bradley Jr. The defensive wizard has struggled mightily at the plate and has never regained the consistency he displayed a two seasons ago. Even the 2017 campaign, a step back from 2016 by most measures, looks bright in comparison to most of Bradley’s 2018 run.
Yet, thanks to his magical glove, Bradley retained his spot in the regular lineup, and manager Alex Cora‘s patience seems to finally be paying off. Since July 1, Bradley has raised his batting average from .198 to .230. Half of his 12 home runs have come in the seven weeks since the All-Star Break. In August, Bradley really began to come alive.
Last month, Bradley hit .282 with a .827 OPS, numbers encouragingly similar the those of his standout 2016 season. The Red Sox, strong as they’ve been, have had two identifiable weaknesses this year: an unreliable bridge to Craig Kimbrel, and a couple of holes at the bottom of their order. If Bradley really is heating up, he couldn’t have picked a better time to do it. If he can keep it going through September and October, the Red Sox will be that much closer to a World Title.