"If only he could hit .250," has been the Red Sox fan's lament over Jackie Bradley Jr. as they've watched his incomparable defense in his seven major league seasons.
On Tuesday night, Bradley hit 478.
His mammoth home run, which traveled 478 feet into the third deck at Coors Field, was one of three homers that powered the Red Sox to a 10-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
The Bradley blast was the longest by a Red Sox player since Statcast began tracking homers in 2015. While the famous hitter-friendly, thin air of mile-high Coors in Denver may have given it a boost, the solo shot that gave the Sox a 2-0 lead in the second inning would've been a long drive in any ballpark.
"It felt good off the bat, I took a good swing and good things happened."
Jackie Bradley Jr. reacts after his mammoth home run helps propel Red Sox to victory over Rockies. https://t.co/CRukEiNRjn pic.twitter.com/ePHeEAELLP
— NESN (@NESN) August 28, 2019
"The best part was seeing my teammates reactions," Bradley told reporters after the game. "I knew I hit it well, but like everything else, you've got to have the trajectory to go along with it. If you hit a line drive, it's not going to look as good."
As he was talking, teammate Mitch Moreland interrupted, "Way longer than 478," he said.
"I concur," said Bradley.
The home run was Bradley's fifth in his past 10 games and 17th of the season. His batting average, as low as .148 in the middle of May, is up to .222. Still, there's always that Gold Glove defense in center field.
At the plate, his manager said Bradley remains a work in progress.
"There's a few things he needs to do better, he knows it," Alex Cora told reporters. "Keep cutting down on the strikeouts and control the strike zone. When he makes contact, it's loud and he gives himself a chance."
Only six homers in all of the majors have traveled further than Bradley's this season.
"I've always known I'm strong enough to do it, just got to make more contact, that's it," Bradley said. "Easier said than done."
That can also describe the Red Sox' long-shot quest for a playoff spot. They remain six out of the second AL wild card with 29 games to play, though they did gain a game on the Tampa Bay Rays, just one of the three teams they need to pass to get there.
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