Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi is colder than cold
Well, Red Sox Nation, this season has not gone quite how we would have liked it to by this point. At just under two weeks into the 2020 campaign Boston already has a pair of four-game losing streaks and sits in a 6.0 game hole. Going into this season there was a lot of pressure on left fielder Andrew Benintendi to step up and fill the leadoff spot left vacant by the Mookie Betts trade, unfortunately, he’s crumbled under the weight.
We got a glimpse of what it would be like to see Benny in the leadoff spot a bit last year when Alex Cora tinkered with his winning formula and swapped his outfielders. It was a miserable failure then and has grown to be downright disastrous this time around.
The problem is, there aren’t many other options to fill the spot in the batting order. Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke has also tried Kevin Pillar and Jose Peraza, with little to no success. It’s as if Mookie cursed the slot in the order on his way out the door.
As we’re just a couple of hours away from tonight’s clash with the Tampa Bay Rays, Roenicke released his lineup and Benintendi’s name was missing from the card. This isn’t a shock as ahead of the season the skipper did say he wanted to give his guys a night off here and there since there aren’t many built into the condensed schedule. But this night off couldn’t come at a better time for Benny as he’s been so bad it’s hard to watch him at the dish.
Benintendi’s night off could be good for him and the Red Sox
To say that Benny is starting the season a bit cold would probably be the nicest thing you could say about his 2020. He isn’t cold, hell he’s not even ice-cold. He’s Captain America frozen several feet under the surface in the arctic. Maybe when he’s thawed out in 70 years he’ll remember that he’s actually pretty good at baseball.
After last night, Benintendi’s slash is about as sickening as food poisoning. He’s posting a .069/.289/.103/.393 with just two hits and one RBI. One positive is that he’s earned 9 walks through 39 plate appearances. The massive negative to that positive is that he’s also struck out 12 times. Nearly 31% of his plate appearances are ending with him walking back to the dugout with nothing to show for it.
I mentioned last night on our Twitter page during the game that it looks like his confidence is at zero. The Red Sox had the bases loaded in the top of the 9th last night and watched several very hittable fastballs cruise right on by to end the game. It was almost as if he was accepting the defeat and just wanted to get it over. Obviously we all know that he doesn’t actually feel that way but it just doesn’t look like he’s confident in his skills right now.
Giving him the night off could be a win-win for both him and the Red Sox as it’ll allow both a chance to figure things out. It may sound awful to say, but when your leadoff guy is as close to a guaranteed out as you can be, it’s going to drag the rest of the lineup down. With Benny on the bench tonight it could give other guys in the order a chance to get their swings in without the pressure of the out already on the board.
I’m a big Andrew Benintendi guy and always will be. His defensive work in leftfield has him as one of the best outfielders in the game today, despite his lack of Gold Gloves. And up until this year, his hitting has at least been serviceable to where he could do some damage when necessary.
I don’t know what’s going on with him this year but it’s not going to do him any favors, especially if Chaim Bloom goes into fire sale mode at the deadline. With Benny bringing his luscious flow back I thought this could’ve been his breakout year, sadly it won’t be.
A night off could do the lefty some good, give him a chance to not worry about his at-bats, and just sit in the crowd and take in a ballgame. Maybe getting the stress of needing to produce off of his plate even for one night, could snap him back into usual self. The Red Sox need all hands on deck and everyone needs to produce if they want a shot at October. Getting Benny back to the player I think we all know he can be will be massive in their efforts towards the postseason.