Red Sox place Andrew Benintendi on the IL
Last night may have been Andrew Benintendi’s best game of 2020 despite the Red Sox getting blown out 8-2 by the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston’s left-fielder went 2-3 but had a nasty spill while making his way to third base. Earlier today it was announced that he’d be making his way to the Injured List courtesy of a strained right rib cage.
We all know the struggles that Benny has been going through this year and this is just another rough chapter in that story. Going into last night’s clash with the Rays he was batting a nauseating 0.65 with 16 strikeouts. Thanks to a pair of funky singles though he’s got that average up to a .103, that’s sort of a positive, I guess.
"“We had X-rays last night,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said on Wednesday. “There’s nothing broken, but he’s going to get some more evaluations today on how he’s doing. So he’s on the IL.”"
Having some time away to heal up and get his mind back on track could do wonders for Benny Biceps. All season long it’s felt like he’s been lost at the plate and things sure don’t look to be righting themselves anytime soon. With this chance to step away and watch some video and just relieve that nightly stress, we could see a new Benintendi upon his return.
The Red Sox currently have four outfielders that they rotate into their starting lineup. The odd man out lately has been the recently acquired Kevin Pillar, but now that’s changed. Ron Roenicke has been trying to rotate his outfield to achieve proper rest for each player, now that Benny is on the shelf, we’ll have a more structured lineup. Like I mentioned above, the once odd man out in the equation is about to get a big opportunity.
Red Sox outfielder Kevin Pillar will get his chance to shine
Pillar made his way to Boston via free agency after spending time with both Toronto and San Francisco. He’s a very familiar face to members of Red Sox Nation as he always seemed like one of those dudes that beat up on the Sox. In his first game in a Red Sox uniform, he instantly won the affection of the Fenway Faithful by making a phenomenal catch to rob an extra-base hit.
Despite his hot start at the plate and stellar defense, Boston just has one too many outfielders. Pillar started 2020 as the everyday left-fielder while the Sox were waiting on the health of Alex Verdugo. Now that the young slugger is at full strength, Pillar saw his playing time decrease rapidly. He was still getting his minutes but nothing like that first week of the season. The downside to that was his once hot bat, had turned cold.
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Offensively he’s still putting up decent numbers but nothing like those first at-bats where it felt like he just couldn’t get out. Just to put things into perspective, Pillar started tonight in right-field in the lead-off spot and as of this writing, is 4-4.
His 2020 stats are looking pretty solid again with a .333 avg with a homer, 5 RBI, and an .817 OPS. Just getting that bump of confidence to not only become an everyday player for the next two weeks but that tone to start the game seems to be the motivation he needs.
When the season ends both Pillar and Jackie Bradley Jr are set to hit free agency and when you compare the stats, salary, and age, I’d much rather see Pillar come back to the Red Sox. It’s not that I don’t like JBJ, I think we all do, but with Chaim Bloom in the hot seat, the budget will need to remain low. This once again points the spotlight back onto extending Pillar’s time in Boston.
Losing Andrew Benintendi is never a good thing, even if he’s not producing as much offense as you’d like. His ability in the field is why he’s such a value to the Red Sox each and every night. However, having Kevin Pillar also on the roster is nothing to stress about as he’s more than capable of coming through on both sides of the ball. With a serious chance to make some waves over the next two weeks, I’m looking for Pillar to get the damn thing done.