Since Rusney Castillo came through in
a big way in Sunday’s seven-run eighth inning, this might not be the best time
to ask this question.
I’m going to ask it anyway: What in the
blue hell does Ben Cherington have against Jackie Bradley Jr.?
Did the outfielder make fun of the
Red Sox general manager’s horrible last 20 months on the job or something? Did
he go all Ricky Bobby and point out how badly the Red Sox got taken in the John
Lackey-Joe Kelly trade last July?
You know, the trade when Cherington
took on Allen Craig’s giant salary while giving St. Louis a proven winner
making the veteran minimum?
Cherington, with all due respect, and remember I'm sayin' it with all due
respect, that idea ain't worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin
gettin' it on.”
Bradley is absolutely crushing it in
Pawtucket. In Sunday’s 7-2 win at Syracuse, Bradley hit two doubles and scored
two runs while batting leadoff. That raised his batting average to .340.
He is the No. 2 hitter in the
International League, behind only Buffalo’s Matt Hague, who is hitting .347.
Bradley has 13 doubles, three home runs and 19 runs scored in 36 games. Bradley
is getting on base at a .390 clip, and his OPS is .880.
In his last 10 games, Bradley is
batting .366 with two home runs. He is riding an eight-game hitting streak.
Oh, by the way, Bradley is the best
defensive centerfielder on the planet.
Remember last year when he was our
future? Now he is an afterthought who could be thrown into a trade for yet another
Granted, like the rest of the Red Sox
roster, Bradley flopped in Boston last season. But his defense in center conjured
up memories of Willie Mays (for my dad, anyway), even when his bat was closer
to Mario Mendoza.
The 25-year-old Bradley, though, went
to work to change his swing, following the advice of the team. As his stats in
Pawtucket show, the change has been a success. You would think those results would
have called for an extended look with the big club that has been shy on
offensive production and defense.
Bradley was called up on May 10, and
his stay in Boston lasted 11 at-bats. He was 0 for 11, benched and demoted on
Of those 11 at bats, four were
against Sonny Gray in Oakland and three against Felix Hernandez in Seattle.
That’s not necessarily a fair shake for the kid. The actual Kid, Ted Williams,
might have gone 0 for 7 against Gray and King Felix.
So why were the Red Sox so quick to
give up on Bradley after just 13 plate appearances when they seem to give other
so many chances?
That’s a good question, if I do say
Granted, money factored into the
equation, but the Red Sox gave Craig 59 agonizing plate appearances before
sending him down to Pawtucket. Daniel Nava, who hit .159 before going on the
disabled list, got 73.