JBJ’s memorable 2016 season just got greater!!

Arguable around baseball, and definitely in the confines of Boston and Red Sox nation, the talk of the season so far has been the emergence of Red Sox OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (Prince George). His season so far has been a career year, to say the least.

Now, he has more to add to it, thanks to the events that happened on June 2.

JBJ, as he is now affectionately known in Red Sox nation, was named the AL Player of the Month for the month of May. He is the first Red Sox player in 5 years to get such an honor. For the month, he batted .381 with a .474 OB%, 7 doubles, 8 homeruns,  24 RBIs, and 17 walks, and that includes his hitting streak that reached 29 games before ending. He recorded a hit in 25 of the Red Sox 27 games, and the team went 17-10 in those games.

However, his accomplishments on the field might be considered an afterthought to what happened off the field on 6/2.

His wife Erin gave birth to a healthy baby girl, the first child for the couple. Mom and daughter are doing fine.

Bradley is currently batting .331 on the season, tied for 4th in the AL, and when first voting totals were released for the all-star game, Bradley was a close 4th among OFers.

Things are clearly looking up for the 26-yr from Prince George.

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Verlander, Reynolds, Bradley doing well after 2 months!

In recent years, the Commonwealth of Virginia has truly emerged as a goldmine of baseball talent, and certainly the 2016 Major League Baseball season is adding credence to that. A number of the state’s MLB heroes are keying surging teams.

In Detroit, the Tigers had high expectations going into the season. They added free agent SP Jordan Zimmermann and slugging OF Justin Upton (Chesapeake). But the Motor City faithful will certainly tell you that the key to any hopes of a pennant in ’16 rest on the work of incumbent ace SP Justin Verlander (Goochland Co./ODU). When Verlander allowed 7 earned runs on May 3, raising his ERA to a very bloated 6.49, it appeared to be a lost season for the Tigers already.

Boy, has Verlander rebounded!

In 4 starts since, he has a 1.20 ERA, and his mark for the season has gone down in each of his last 4 starts, from 6.49 down to a much better 4.02. In addition, on May 18th, a Wednesday afternoon game against the Twins, Verlander added to his legend, with a 4th inning strikeout of Twins OF Eddie Rosario, the 2000th strikeout of his career. He joins Mickey Lolich as the only Tigers hurlers to ever accomplish that mark, and is less than 700 Ks from matching Lolich.

In Colorado, the Rockies sit at 23-24, 5 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West. While no team is truly out of the playoff picture on Memorial Day weekend, the Rockies have the offense to carry them. The emergence of rookie SS Trevor Story may be the talk of baseball, but one of the keys to any playoff games coming to Denver this year is slugging 1B Mark Reynolds (Va Beach/UVA). Reynolds, who is the only batter in history to post 3 200+ strikeout seasons, has found his discipline at the plate in recent years, and so far in 2016, he is 2nd in the NL among 1B with a .317 BA.

Perhaps the biggest shocker in baseball, certainly in Boston so far, has been the emergence of CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Prince George). Bradley, at one time a top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was struggling to hold down an OF job at Fenway due to hitting, lackluster at best. His glovework was the only thing keeping him with the Red Sox. But JBJ, has he is affectionately known as by Red Sox Nation, persevered, working with a hitting coach in Florida during the winter months.

In 2016, that has paid off, and big time!

As of May 27, Bradley is 2nd in the AL with a .341 Batting Average, tied for 4th with 35 RBIs, and tied for the league lead with 4 triples, and has garnered a Player of the Week honor during the month of May. And from April 24th to May 25th, he was unstoppable, literally!

JBJ put together a 29-game hitting streak, during which time his batting average skyrocketed 117 points! His streak included 11 multi-hit games, including, at one point, six straight!

Justin Verlander. Mark Reynolds. Jackie Bradley Jr. Proving that the Virginia-MLB pipeline is alive. And strong!

 

Verlander adds to his legend in Motor City

At the 2004 MLB player draft, the Padres had the first pick, and choose P Matt Bush, who got into all kinds of legal trouble and has served prison time. The Detroit Tigers had the second pick, and chose a flame-throwing hurler out of Old Dominion University in Virginia. To this day, do you think the Padres are regretting not choosing Justin Verlander (Goochland Co.)?

Verlander made his major league debut on Independence Day, 2005, and 11 years later, his mantle is filled to the brim with accomplishments, awards, and accolades. 6-time all-star, ROY, Cy Young Award, MVP, 2 no-hitters, established himself as one of the greatest Tigers pitchers of all-time, in the Top 10 in just about every pitching category in Detroit history.

Yesterday, he accomplished another major career milestone.

On a warm afternoon at Comerica Park in Detroit, the Tigers faced the Minnesota Twins. Verlander threw 7 1/3 innings with 10 strikeouts in a win for the home club. However, its what happened in the fourth inning that was the milestone. He struck out Twins LF Eddie Rosario for his  2000th career K.

Verlander became the 76th pitcher in ML history to reach that mark, and joined the great Mickey Lolich as the only Tigers hurlers to do so.

 

 

Bradley rides hot stretch to AL POW honors

On April 24th, in a game on a Sunday afternoon in Houston, Red Sox CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Prince George) went 2-6 in a Red Sox 12-inning win.

He has not stopped since. JBJ, as the Boston fan base has referred to him, has now hit safely in 21 straight games, batting .402 in this stretch.

Monday, MLB rewarded him for his hot streak.

Bradley, Jr. was named the AL Player of the Week for the week ending May 15th. He hit .469 with 3 HRs and 15 RBIs during his great week.

This is the first Player of the Week honor for JBJ.

The numbers on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s hitting streak

Hey, Red Sox Nation, have you started to take notice of the hottest hitter on your team right now? Not Betts, not Ortiz, not Boegarts.

It is none other than CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Prince George).

Yes, the same Jackie Bradley Jr who struggled to hit his weight for the longest time may be emerging right now as a permanent mainstay in the Red Sox OF. Things are finally coming together for the 26-yr old Bradley.

And now, he is truly on fire.

On April 24th, at Houston, Jackie Bradley Jr. went 2-6 with a double and 2 RBis in a Red Sox extra innings win. Since then, he has not stopped.

Bradley has now hit safely in 18 straight games.

Bradley’s hitting streak by the numbers:

106-number of points his batting average has improved during streak, .222 to .328

28-58-hits and at-bats during streak.

12: Number of extra base hits during his hitting streak. (5 doubles, 3 triples, 4 HRs.)

25: Number of RBIs during his hitting streak.

7: Number of multi-hit games during his hitting streak.

5: Number of consecutive multi-hit games he has, as of this posting.

14: Number of Red Sox wins during his hitting streak.

 

My own collection-#2

Continuing this series, unveiling my collection of baseball memorabilia of ball players from Virginia, here is #2. 

Detroit Tigers P Justin Verlander (Goochland Co.) is one of 30+ ML pitchers all time to throw 2 no-hitters, and one of 6 active pitchers to do so. Verlander threw his first no-hitter on June 12, 2007, a home game against the Milwaukee Brewers. 

The following season, in mid April, Tigers fans got to take home a souvenir of that memorable night, as Tigers brass gave away a DVD of that game.