Red Sox Notes: Jackie Bradley Jr. Takes Positive Step Forward At Plate

It’s no secret that Jackie Bradley Jr. has been struggling at the plate this season, but the Boston Red Sox outfielder took a positive step forward at the dish Tuesday night.

Bradley went 2-for-4 with two singles during Boston’s 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. The 28-year-old outfielder put three four-seam fastballs in play, each with an exit velocity between 95-100 mph. Bradley almost snapped his streak of consecutive games with a strikeout but he was rung up on a questionable third strike in his final at-bat in the ninth inning.

The Red Sox center fielder entered Tuesday’s game as one of 10 Major League Baseball players who were hitting under .200 with at least 125 at-bats. He began the day slashing .165/.267/.252 with a .519 OPS. Bradley is coming off a four-game series against the Orioles in which he went 1-for-10 with seven strikeouts.

But manager Alex Cora was pleased with what he saw Tuesday from his center fielder.

“Good, good swing decisions,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “Hitting the span. The last pitch, I guess it was a borderline pitch. It was a strike for them, a ball for us. But being able to find the barrel, hit the ball. That second hit, I like that. Stay inside the ball, not too much movement. So, still working.”

Here are more notes from Red Sox-Rays:
Dustin Pedroia was slated to play seven innings Tuesday for Triple-A Pawtucket, but he was scratched due to messy field conditions.

— Tyler Thornburg had an encouraging outing for the PawSox. In his ninth rehab appearance, he recorded a 1-2-3 seventh inning with two strikeouts. Thornburg has recorded seven strikeouts, seven walks and allowed seven hits in six innings for the PawSox.

— Red Sox ace Chris Sale improved to 5-1 on the season with the win Tuesday. He now has a 2.17 ERA, a .186 BAA and has struck out 96 batters in 70 2/3 innings.

— Mookie Betts hit his league-leading 16th home run of the season.

— Sandy Leon got a bit of bad luck at The Trop on Tuesday. The Red Sox catcher pummeled a ball that appeared ticketed for the seats, but it clanged off the catwalk and dropped in shallow right field for a single. It was projected to go 363 feet, the same distance Rafael Devers’ home run traveled in the sixth inning.

— Rays No. 2 prospect Willy Adames hit a home run in his second career at-bat Tuesday, launching a Sale fastball deep over the left field wall.