Over the long Fourth of July weekend, the Red Sox (49-35) played their best baseball of the season and opened up a four game lead over the Yankees in the AL East.
Unlike previous hot blips in the 2017 season, this time the Boston bats were the driving force in the win streak. The Sox averaged a highly impressive 8.8 runs per game in the victories over the Twins, Blue Jays and Rangers.
Boston is now fourth in the American League in runs scored with 417. They are not scoring all of these runs courtesy of the long ball, as they are dead last (by a wide margin) in home runs in the American League. They have just 86 dingers all year. By comparison, the league-leading Yankees have 136 homers.
Instead, the small ball Red Sox are simply getting on base. They are second in the American League behind Houston (833) for total hits, as the Sox have 789 hits on the season.
Jackie Bradley Jr. has accounted for a whopping 19 of those hits over the past two weeks. Since July 21, JBJ is batting .345 with a .400 batting average. He went 3-for-5 with a homer in Boston’s 11-4 victory over the Rangers on the Fourth of July.
It’s a shame Bradley wasn’t playing this well earlier in the season or he likely would have been voted into the 2017 MLB All-Star Game. There was a bit of debate on the interwebs this week regarding why the Indians’ Michael Brantley made the AL squad and JBJ did not.