Brush back Yoenis Cespedes and pay the price

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You’ll often hear pitchers and/or old-schoolers tout the importance of brushing back hitters with inside pitches to keep them off the plate.

Reds right-hander Jonathan Broxton tried that last night against Yoenis Cespedes, going way up and way in on the Red Sox outfielder. And on the very next pitch, a 95-mph fastball, Cespedes launched a mammoth two-run homer to dead center field that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead (and victory).

Asked afterward about the brush-back attempt, Cespedes replied via an interpreter: “A lot of times pitchers think when you get a pitch thrown high and tight on you like that, you’ll back off and get a little flustered, but that’s not how I am.”

No, no it isn’t. Thankfully.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. named ALCS MVP

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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series after his club punched its ticket to the World Series on Thursday night against the Astros.

Coincidentally, the Astros’ Game 5 starter Justin Verlander was ALCS MVP last year en route to a championship.

Bradley went 0-for-3 with a walk in Thursday’s Game 5, but he hit a three-run double in Game 2, a grand slam in Game 3, and a go-ahead two-run home run in Game 4. That’s nine RBI and three extra-base hits across five games. He also drew four walks.

Though Bradley had a solid regular season, he was not near the top of the list most people would’ve expected to win ALCS MVP heading into the series. During the season, he hit .234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs, 59 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases in 535 plate appearances.