Jackie Bradley

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Red Sox report: Jackie Bradley Jr. has some thoughts on the curse of streakiness

John Tomase
February 24, 2018 - 4:03 pm

If Jackie Bradley's monthly OPS numbers since 2015 were the stock market, investors would cash out. Too much volatility.

In 2015, Bradley posted a .282 OPS in July and a Bonds-ian 1.163 in August. During his All-Star 2016, he peaked at 1.175 and bottomed out at .651. Last year he followed a 1.009 June with a .596 July and .517 September.

It's safe to say that streakiness has impeded Bradley's path to consistent stardom. He acknowledges as much, even if he doesn't like using certain words. Chief among them: streaky.

"I feel like I haven't played my best baseball yet," Bradley said on Saturday after going 2-for-3 with a double and run against Tampa. "I don't like to feed into the so-called streaky thing. I know what I'm capable of doing. It's just a matter of getting back to doing that on a consistent basis. Obviously the game is about making adjustments. And I want to be able to do that better on the fly."

Bradley has a simple explanation for combating his consistent dry spells.

"Strike out less," he said. "I make contact, most of the time I try to make hard contact. Good things happen when you hit the ball hard. Being consistent with barreling the ball up, continue to fight off good pitches, put myself in hitter's counts, and don't chase.

"Trying to make solid contact," he added. "Put the fat part of the barrel on the ball, just trying to do that consistently and see where that goes. I'm healthy. I'm getting back into the swing of things and getting comfortable."

Bradley battled injuries last year, from a knee sprain that left him in a brace for a month to a thumb sprain that hindered his swing in August and September. He has declined to use the injuries as an explanation for his struggles, particularly in September, when he batted just .172. He was asked if expands the zone during his struggles or loses his swing.

"It can be a combination," he said. "There's no one thing that decides that. I can say I'm guilty of (getting) my pitch and I just miss my pitch. You put yourself in tough counts, and then you're at the mercy of the pitcher throwing his secondary stuff, and sometimes maybe you're at the mercy of the umpire. It's one of those things where you want to get a good pitch and be able to handle it and don't miss it."

So does Bradley feel he's on the right track?

"I'm trending upwards," he said.