Bleecker Bob’s is gone but Rock and Soul is still around. I stopped by on Saturday afternoon to visit my friend Mike who works there. He wasn’t around but I went to the back and looked through records anyway.
A middle-aged woman stood above the record player and played a 45 of “Top Billin’” for a boy who couldn’t have been older than 8 or 9. When it was over, she flipped the record over and played the instrumental. I told the kid that the record is a classic and he said he liked it a lot. He was dancing in place.
The Yankees enter this series as the underdog, because they’re the road team, because it had been nearly a month since they had been in first place, and because they have gone just 1-8 against Boston thus far this series. However, the Yankees also enter this series hot, having won their last seven games against the Orioles and White Sox. Not that the Red Sox could be considered cold, though they’ve split their first four games in August, they went an astonishing 20-6 (.769) in July.
Leading the Boston charge of late has been Dustin Pedroia, who since the calendar flipped to June has arguably been the best player in baseball, hitting .377/.454/.623 with 11 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts over that span in addition to his typically outstanding play in the field. Pedroia’s closest rival over that period has been the man who plays to his left, Adrian Gonzalez, who has hit .384/.457/.593 over that span. Indeed, the Boston lineup is just crushing it right now. Rookie Josh Reddick seems to have solved right field by hitting .333/.382/.581 since being recalled in late June. Their catchers are hitting, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia leading the way with a .290/.358/.574 line with ten home runs dating back to a series between these two teams in mid-April. That leaves Carl Crawford and Marco Scutaro as the only Red Sox regulars who aren’t crushing the ball right now. Indeed, that red-hot July was stoked by the Boston Bats, which pushed across a staggering 6.58 runs per game on the month.
On the season, the Sox lead the majors with 5.47 runs scored per game. The Yankees are second at 5.40. To put that productivity in proper context, third place is 5.02, fourth place is 4.81, and fifth place is 4.68, and the American League average is 4.36 runs per game.
The Sox have beaten the Yanks about the face and neck so far this year. Be nice to see that change starting tonight.
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones LF
Russell Martin C
Jorge Posada DH
Eduardo Nunez 3B