When a player as good as Jackie Bradley Jr. starts out as hot as he did this year in Triple-A, it doesn't go unnoticed. Unfortunately, when he inevitably cools off a bit, that doesn't go unnoticed either.
But as usually is the case over the course of a long baseball season, the second-ranked Red Sox prospect has picked it back up over his last couple games.
Bradley smacked his third homer of the year Tuesday -- his first of June -- then went 3-for-5 on Wednesday. He drove in two runs, knocked a double, walked once and scored once out of the leadoff spot as Triple-A Pawtucket beat Columbus in 10 innings, 6-5.
The two-game spurt broke an 0-for-15 streak across four games from June 14-17 for the 23-year-old.
"It's definitely baseball, it's a humbling sport," Bradley said. "You gotta be able to take the goods with the bads, stay as consistent as you possibly can. Get back to the basics, do what has helped you be successful and stick with that. Sometimes you get out of rhythm, out of sync. Maybe you're doing too much thinking, but once you get back to doing what you do, everything else will start flowing into place."
It's that attitude that's helped Bradley through what's been a streaky year. He broke camp with Boston and hit .097 in 12 games before returning to Pawtucket. Then he batted .226 in his first eight games with the PawSox before reeling off a 12-game hitting streak that saw him, once more, head up to the Majors.
He accumulated a .238 average in another seven games for Boston and then came back to the International League for his latest run. Despite the upheaval, he's managed to put together a .310/.412/.500 line in 29 games for Pawtucket.
"I guess I don't really focus on [getting moved around]," he said, "I'm just trying to go out there and play. Just enjoy it, do the best I can every single night. It's all a process and you gotta keep working, keep getting better and be a great teammate.
"I have no complaints at all. I'm always constantly working, I know I have to get better. I'm going to get better as I keep learning and I'm ready for what the future has for me, for what's in store."
One of the things Bradley had been working on the past couple weeks was fighting off more pitches inside.
"I guess the scouting report on me was they said it was a pretty weak spot, so I've just worked on being able to stay within myself, stick with it, 'cause I know I can hit the inside pitch. Just not trying to overdo anything, focus on driving the ball, staying back and being able to spray the ball to all parts of the field."
On Wednesday, Drew Sutton went 3-for-5 out of the No. 2 spot for the PawSox. He also hit a double and drove in two runs.
Alex Hassan doubled twice, walked and scored once and Dan Butler hit a solo shot that proved decisive for Pawtucket in the 10th.
Columbus ace Trevor Bauer, Cleveland's No. 2 prospect, exited early with a pitch count of 63 after throwing 3 2/3 scoreless frames. He gave up three hits and a walk while fanning four.