Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi made sure that the New York Yankees knew his name after the latest chapter in this historic baseball rivalry.
If one is to make an impact on history, one starts with a big introduction to make the world take notice. In professional baseball, one guarantee is that the world is watching every time that the Yankees play in Boston and when the Red Sox play in Yankee Stadium. No matter how evenly matched the two teams are, baseball fans can’t seem to get enough of these teams playing each other. A young man can make himself a legend with a great performance in one of these games.
Benintendi didn’t just have a good game last night, he made a statement to the Yankees and Red Sox Nation. Benintendi is here to stay.
The young rookie went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, to help Red Sox starter Rick Porcello win his 15th game of the season, 5-3. Ian Browne of MLB.com reported Porcello being very grateful for Benintendi’s contribution: “Seeing him get drafted a year ago and he’s up here in the big leagues getting three hits in multiple games, it’s pretty fun. But you can see why with his swing and his speed and the things that he’s able to do at the plate why he’s such a highly touted player. We’re happy he’s up here.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell also praised Benintendi after the game: “He obviously shows and displays power against a good arm in [Luis] Severino, who was throwing the ball very well. He gets a fastball out over the plate and drives it to the biggest part of the ballpark. He doesn’t seem to be disrupted by velocity or secondary pitches. He’s been impressive.”
It wasn’t just the three hits that had the Fenway faithful buzzing about Benintendi, it was how hard each ball was hit. A 98-mph fastball in the bottom of the third inning did not phase Benintendi in his first at-bat in Fenway Park, in front of the home fans and all of the pressure that comes with it. Instead, he absolutely drilled the ball to left field, proving why he was picked in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft.
Benintendi then proved why he was called up just over a year since his selection. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Red Sox fans thought that they were brought to their feet by Sandy Leon‘s triple to lead off but it was the mere appetizer to what they thought was Benintendi’s crushing, line-drive home run, after he feasted on an 87-mph slider.
After review, it was deemed only a double, but the play scored the go-ahead run and the Red Sox never looked back. It was as straight as a ball can be hit to “the exact point of the Green Monster that intersects with the lower wall in center field.” Home run or not, Benintendi’s power was on display. At only 22 years old and still growing, the potential power that Benintendi could command with his bat in just a few years was staggering to everyone, including the Yankees.
Benintendi added to this coming-out party with, as Browne put it, “a hard single off the glove of second baseman Starlin Castro in the seventh.” It was a laser of a hit, burning through the infield like it was on fire, too hot for the Yankees to make a play.
Sure, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry has been known to get violent. The fans boo the opposing team more than any other in the majors, sometimes in less-than-appropriate fashion. It’s not even unusual for some of the players to take offense to others’ conduct and desire to settle the matter with their fists. Such was the case last night, with the Fenway fans chanting “We want A-Rod” and a dispute between Porcello and Chase Headley of the Yankees resulting in verbal flareups and the benches clearing onto the field.
Nothing came of any of it. The only real violence was Benintendi’s bat bashing three pitches around the ballpark, making a statement amongst all the hoopla. A new man has entered the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, and he looks unafraid to do some damage and make some new history.