Red Sox

McAdam: Making the case for keeping Jackie Bradley Jr.

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(Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox via Getty Images)

In this perfectly upside-down season, Jackie Bradley Jr. may or may not have played his final home game as a member of the Red Sox. For a definitive answer, we may have to wait weeks or months to see whether free agency takes Bradley elsewhere, or returns him to the only organization he's ever known.

If, indeed, it turns out it was Bradley's final game, it took place without any spectacle or drama. In an empty Fenway Park, there was no chance for Bradley to step out of the batter's box and acknowledge the fans' applause, no being lifted for a pinch-runner in the late innings for a chance to tip his cap one last time.

(For the record, Bradley recorded the final defensive out of the night when he drifted back effortlessly to snare a flyball hit by Orioles DH Bryan Holaday in the top of the ninth. For bookending purposes, he then made the final out of the Sox' 13-1 loss to the O's, striking out swinging).

The pandemic has robbed us of this courtesy and tradition, too.

If Bradley is on his way out of town, he's leaving during one of his patented hot streak, having hit safely in 28 of his last 33 games, while posting a .901 OPS in that span. When Sunday's game concludes, it will likely be with both the highest batting average and highest on-base percentage of his career.

His detractors, of whom there are many, would no doubt suggest that Bradley's numbers are inflated by the small sample size and argue that, over time, his hyper-streaky nature would result in numbers that more closely resemble his career average.

Maybe that's true.

And so what?