Making his weekly appearance on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on WEEI on Wednesday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora had high praise for center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who’s been on a tear over the last few weeks as one of Boston’s most consistent hitters.
The Gold Glove outfielder is a notoriously streaky hitter, but he’s been on an upswing since mid-May, amidst one of the better hot streaks of his career. Cora, for one, can’t figure out how the streaks come and go.
“He's that talented, he's that strong, and when he gets rolling, he gets rolling,” Cora said. “Now it's just a matter of maintaining his swing and maintaining his gameplan, I think that's the most important thing, and he's been able to do that for what, 40 games now."
Bradley Jr. was strikeout rate was nearly 30 percent during his cold start, a number he’s cut down to 20.7 percent over the last six weeks. His average is way up, his power is way up, his strikeouts are way down, and his production is through the roof as a result, as is his confidence.
“You can see it, the way he's talking in the dugout and the way he's walking towards the plate, there's a lot of confidence right now,” said Cora. “It feels like that swing, where he's at right now, very athletic and the hands where they're at, it gives him a chance to go direct to the ball and that's what we want.”
His numbers for the season are only now approaching an average level, with the hot streak balancing out the cold start, but Bradley Jr. has found a way to come through in big moments day after day for Cora and the Red Sox, and along with Bogaerts and Devers has kept the offense rolling when Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez haven’t quite reproduced last season’s results at the plate in 2019. JBJ’s nine homers and 30 RBIs since May 20 are both second on the team behind only Devers, his 12 doubles are third behind Devers and Bogaerts, and Cora believes there’s even more power to be tapped into.