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Sox optimistic JBJ can break out of latest slump

@jessicacamerato
August 9, 2019

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Alex Cora knows Jackie Bradley Jr. is struggling at the plate. He also believes Bradley could snap out of it in a single at-bat. “It’s always one pitch with Jackie,” Cora said. “It’s a fastball away or a changeup up and he hits it over

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Alex Cora knows Jackie Bradley Jr. is struggling at the plate. He also believes Bradley could snap out of it in a single at-bat.

“It’s always one pitch with Jackie,” Cora said. “It’s a fastball away or a changeup up and he hits it over the wall, and then he gets rolling.”

Bradley entered Friday against the Angels in an 0-for-13 skid. His last hit came on Monday, facing the Royals in the previous series’ opener, and he has two hits in seven games played in August.

The speedy outfielder with the dangerous arm has been searching for offensive improvements in the second half of the season. He batted .233 (just shy of his .234 average in 2018) prior to the All-Star break, compared to .170 in 25 games after it.

“Obviously, he’s regressing since the All-Star break,” Cora said. “Everybody kind of knows that when he’s hitting the ball the other way, he becomes very dangerous. And when he’s putting the ball on the ground, it’s the other way around.”

Bradley's success has gone in waves in his seventh year. His batting average fluctuated from .127 in April to .247 in May, up to .315 in June, which is why he looks at the bigger picture of the season versus a single game here and there.

“I don’t know if it’s one swing,” Bradley said. “It sounds good. But as you know, it’s a game of consistency. You need more than just one swing. Make sure when I get my pitch, [I] just don’t miss it.”

Cora said the Red Sox continue to work with Bradley. They examine film and implement it in the batting cage. He noted there are factors of an at-bat -- the pitcher, defense and atmosphere in the stadium -- that can have an impact, too.

“Honestly, I do feel like what he was doing a month ago, a month and a half ago wasn’t that much different than right now,” Cora said. “But sometimes it’s pitch selection or just being on time. … You can work on all you want mechanics-wise. It doesn’t matter. But if you are not on time and you see the baseball, it’s going to be hard to hit.”

Meanwhile, Bradley remains a defensive stopper in the outfield. He recorded an assist on both Monday and Tuesday and is tied for third in Major League Baseball with nine outfield assists. Cora is optimistic it can all come together.

“Hopefully we can fix it, or something clicks tonight. One pitch,” Cora said.

Travis getting hot at the plate

One player who has been on the upswing offensively is Sam Travis. He has homered in back-to-back games, including a 443-foot blast on Thursday against the Angels.

“I’m not surprised,” Cora said. “There’s a guy where the game is going, as far as the attack, he can get on fastballs and he can get on top of them, which is very important. He’s been great. He’s been playing good defense at first and left field. He can move and make plays.”

Travis is hitting .288 with a .916 OPS since being recalled on July 15 from Triple-A.

“We’re very happy with the way he’s performing,” Cora said. “Surprised? No. But happy? Yeah, of course.”

Jessica Camerato covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @jessicacamerato, Facebook and Instagram.