Red Sox

Red Sox

Jackie Bradley Jr. is one of those slumps. Let's see how he responds.

During a torrid stretch from early August until about a week ago, Bradley hit everything in sight -- and hit it hard. Finally making good on his potential as a hitter, Bradley drove the ball for power, boosting his slugging percentage at one point to .631 only a little more than a week ago.
     
But more recently, Bradley has slumped, with just one hit -- a double -- in his last 24 at-bats, dating back to Sept. 8. In that span, he's struck out in almost half his plate appearances (13 times in 28 trips to the plate).
     
That's the kind of futility that Bradley experiences as a hitter in 2013 - unsure of himself at the plate, often swinging at pitches he couldn't hit and inviting pitchers to expand the zone on him.
     
That got him a ticket to the minor leagues, and saw the Red Sox plan their outfield without him in 2015. When injuries struck, Bradley got a chance and made the most of it with a terrific stretch that began in the second week of August.
     
Now, the tough times are back. Bradley appears jumpy at the plate and the swing has gotten a little longer again. It will be interesting to see how he handles this setback.
     
Even the best major league hitters slump. If Bradley is to be regarded as an established major leaguer going into next season, he'll need to show over the final 2 1/2 weeks that he knows how to get himself out of dips like this with a return to the approach that worked so well for him over the last five weeks.