BOSTON — Just over one month ago, Jackie Bradley Jr. was hitting .121 and appeared on his way to another disappointing campaign at the plate.
It’s safe to say things have changed since then.
The Boston Red Sox outfielder continued his torrid stretch Monday afternoon, going 4-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs to power the Sox to an 11-4 Labor Day rout of the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.
Bradley has hit at an otherworldly .458 clip since Aug. 9, with 24 of his 37 hits over that span going for extra bases. He currently owns an eight-game hit streak and has 10 RBIs in his last five games.
“There’s just a general overall confidence that he’s showing right now,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said after the game.
“He can walk up to the plate and hit in any count, any pitch and any part of the at-bat, and that is from a lot of hard work behind the scenes he’s put in. (He’s getting) inside of (the baseball), the front foot’s down, surveying the strike zone, able to take a balanced approach to the ball.”
Bradley already is well-established as an excellent defender, and the future looks bright for the 25-year-old if he can keep it up at the plate.
Let’s check out some more notes from Boston’s fourth consecutive win.
— Rick Porcello continues to look sharp since coming off the disabled list nearly three weeks ago.
Porcello pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits while walking two and striking out four. His outing was better than those numbers imply, however. The right-hander exited the game with a 9-2 lead, and reliever Noe Ramirez allowed both his inherited runners to score on Jose Bautista’s 2-RBI single.
Porcello has a 1.61 ERA (four earned runs over 22 1/2 innings) in his last three starts and has lasted seven or more innings in each of them.
“It’s the length of his outings,” Lovullo said of Porcello after the game. “It’s the easy, quick innings that’s allowing him to (pitch) into the seventh, eighth inning. Fastball command, movement … (and) location of his two-seam fastball, confidence in all his pitches, and he worked hard to get to that point.”
— Mookie Betts and Bradley are one heck of a duo offensively.
Betts went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest active streak in the majors. Bradley and Betts recorded back-to-back hits on three separate occasions out of the ninth and leadoff spots, respectively.
— David Ortiz just missed homer No. 498.
The Red Sox designated hitter planted an RBI double high off the Green Monster — just to the right of where Ortiz’s home run counter can be found — in the third inning. But if you think Big Papi is feeling the strain of trying to reach 500, think again.
“Baseball is fun for me, bro,” Ortiz told a reporter after the game. “No pressure. Ever.”
— Dustin Pedroia could make his first start since July 22 as early as Tuesday.
Lovullo said before Monday’s game that the Red Sox second baseman will be evaluated by team doctors Tuesday. If all goes well, Pedroia could be in the lineup that night.
— Reliever Matt Barnes, who was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 23, pitched a scoreless seventh inning and struck out two for the PawSox on Monday.
Lovullo said Barnes will be evaluated by the team’s medical staff in Boston on Tuesday.
— Lovullo also announced the team will recall pitchers Rich Hill and Jonathan Aro from Pawtucket on Tuesday.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images