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With one minor adjustment, Jackie Bradley Jr. is starting to swing the results in his favor

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2 for 4 with a triple in Wednesday's win over the Reds.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

A hitter’s setup at the plate can sometimes make all the difference. Before the swing even occurs, the way a batter is situated in the box can be the difference between a positive outcome and a negative one.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has had a good number of positive outcomes so far this year, and that might have something to do with a minor tweak he’s made to help get him to this point.

At the start of the season Bradley rested his bat on his shoulder when in his stance. As the pitcher went into his motion, that’s when Bradley would lift his bat off his shoulder, begin his load with the top head of the bat more at an angled hitter’s position. That’s not an atypical movement for a lot of hitters. Some view the bat on the shoulder during their pre-pitch setup as the resting point, something that can keep them loose and free in their swing. But for Bradley, he was getting out and around the ball, topping it over to the pull side. Or was just late altogether.

That’s when the Sox coaching staff and Bradley made a slight adjustment. How about starting the bat more in the upright position with the top head angled more upward? Essentially, have the bat ready to fire, and cut down the movement.


Jackie Bradley Jr. has seen a spike in his offensive numbers lately.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“I got to get it there anyway,” Bradley said Wednesday. “Why not just start there? Just less movement. Get to the slot faster.”

Bradley went 2 for 4 with a three-run triple and four RBI in Wednesday’s 7-1 win against the Reds.

Over Bradley’s last 14 games, he’s hitting .318/.368/.568 with a .930 OPS and a home run, which was his first of the season.

Despite his .227/.284/.353 line so far this year, Bradley’s at-bats have shown promise. Manager Alex Cora and the Sox have preached to Bradley the importance of going to the opposite field, and how much of an asset he can be to the team when he does that. So far this year, Bradley has 13 hits to the opposite field compared with just nine all of last year with the Brewers.


“If you see his batting practice, there’s a 100 percent effort of trying to stay inside the ball and drive to left field,” Cora said. “We talked a little bit and said, ‘Just simplify it, be an athlete.’ Especially at Fenway, it’s been beautiful seeing him, going the other way.”

Bradley, though, offered a different perspective on what he’s trying to do, adding that he’s just hitting the ball where it’s pitched.

“I think if you overthink it to the point where you’re trying to force things the other way, then you’re not going to put yourself in a good enough position,” he said. “I think sometimes the pitch dictates where you hit the ball.”

Regardless there’s one thing Bradley does see has paid dividends: the positioning of his hands and the angle of his bat before the pitch. He’s quicker and shorter to the ball.

“Yeah,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

On the road back

The Red Sox (24-27) have a chance to gain some ground in the standings when they open a three-game set Friday against the Athletics in Oakland. The rebuilding A’s (20-33) have the worst record in the American League West. The A’s have just a 7-20 record at home this year and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Sox will see two of their best pitchers this weekend, however, with Paul Blackburn (2.15 ERA) and Frankie Montas (3.20 ERA) pitching Saturday and Sunday, respectively . . . Nate Eovaldi will take the ball Friday for the Sox against James Kaprielian for the A’s. Nick Pivetta will go toe to toe with Blackburn, and Rich Hill is slated up against Montas.


Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.