Not surprisingly, it’s the Red Sox offense that’s fueled their success in the series. What might be considered surprising is the man who’s leading that offense. Jackie Bradley Jr., the 28-year-old outfielder whose inconsistent offensive game has worn out the patience of Red Sox fans, is morphing into David Ortiz right before our very eyes.
Bradley Jr. delivered a game-changing blow in Game 4. With two outs in the top of the sixth, Bradley launched a two-run home run to take the lead back for Boston after it had already changed hands multiple times.
CAN'T. BE. STOPPED.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) October 18, 2018
This time, the Red Sox never looked back.
The home run was part of a big night for Bradley Jr. in which he reached base four times. It also gave him nine RBIs in the series. All nine have come in the last three games. In fact, all nine have come on just three swings.
In Game 2, Bradley Jr. hit a bases-clearing double off of Gerrit Cole to give Boston the lead in a 7-5 victory. In Game 3, he broke the game wide open with an eighth-inning grand slam off of Astros reliever Roberto Osuna. Then came the Game 4 heroics, which not only gave Boston the lead, but positioned Bradley Jr. to challenge a Red Sox ALCS record held by David Ortiz.
Jackie Bradley Jr. now has driven in nine runs in this series — 3rd most ever by a Red Sox in the LCS. Ortiz had 11 in 2004 and Manny had 10 in 2007.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 18, 2018
Any time your postseason hitting is mentioned in the same breath as David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, you’re obviously doing something special. What Bradley Jr. is doing here clearly qualifies as special.
The only thing he might wish to change is where he was batting in Game 2. Otherwise, he might already have a record under his belt.
From ELIAS, via @SlangsOnSports:
Most RBI Batting 9th – Single Postseason Series
1978 WS Bucky Dent, 7
2018 ALCS Jackie Bradley Jr, 6
1999 ALDS Trot Nixon, 6
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 18, 2018
Bradley Jr. hit eighth in Game 2, and has hit ninth the first two games in Houston.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) October 18, 2018
Bradley Jr. started his postseason cold, going just 2-for-14 in his first five games. Not exactly encouraging numbers coming off another disappointing regular season. In 144 games, he hit .234/.314/.403 with 13 homers. He maintained a regular role thanks to his exceptional defense. That’s often the theme when it comes to surprising postseason heroes. They continue getting opportunities because defense is so important in October.
Facing a relentless Astros offense, scoring more runs might be the most important thing for Boston in the ALCS. Fortunately for them, Bradley Jr. is providing a lot of everything.
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