Boston Red Sox rookie Andrew Benintendi fueled the team to a victory over the New York Yankees with a pair of three-run home runs.
A trip to the Bronx was expected to put New York Yankees rookie phenom Aaron Judge in the spotlight. Instead, it’s been a fellow rookie stealing the show. Andrew Benintendi led the Boston Red Sox to victory Saturday afternoon with a pair of home runs that drove in six of the team’s ten runs.
It was his third multi-home run game, bringing Benintendi’s total to 16 homers this season. His six RBI tied a career high that he set in his last multi-homer game on the Fourth of July in Texas. The 23-year old is now the youngest player in franchise history to record multiple six-RBI games in the same season. He’s also the youngest Red Sox player to drive in six runs in a game against the Yankees.
The historic achievements don’t end there. Benintendi became the first rookie in Major League Baseball history to hit a pair of three-run homers against the Yankees, while joining Jimmie Foxx as the only Red Sox hitter to ever do so against New York.
After hitting his first prolonged slump in July, Benintendi sat out a couple of games to clear his head and work on fixing the mechanics of his swing. Since returning to the lineup, Benintendi is hitting a scorching .484 with a 1.508 OPS, four home runs and 11 RBI over eight games this month. The brief benching worked wonders, turning the rookie’s season around.
While it seemed Judge was going to run away with the Rookie of the Year award, Benintendi is at least making the race interesting with his torrid play this month. While Benintendi is heating up in the second half, Judge is trending in the other direction.
Judge’s staggering strikeout rate was always expected to catch up with his batting average, but few saw a slump of this magnitude coming. Pitchers seem to have figured him out and the rookie has yet to adjust.
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The Red Sox pitching staff has been better than any when it comes to containing Judge, holding him to a .167 batting average and only one home run in 11 games. His .589 OPS against Boston is the lowest he’s posted against any team this season.
The same can’t be said of the Yankees against Benintendi, who seems to thrive in their ballpark. He’s hitting .333 with a 1.316 OPS, four home runs and nine RBI in five games at Yankee Stadium this season. Let’s avoid telling Benintendi about how well he hits in the Bronx for the next six years or so when he’ll reach free agency. We wouldn’t want him getting any ideas.
Judge may end up winning the Rookie of the Year, but Benintendi is getting the better of him in this rivalry. The Red Sox are beating the Yankees where it matters, in the standings, while their rookie outfielder is making a name for himself as a Yankee nemesis.