The Boston Red Sox’s starting lineup looked a bit different Thursday night.
Instead of his usual spot in left field, Red Sox rookie Andrew Benintendi began Game 1 of a four-game series with the Oakland Athletics resting on the bench. And it’s easy to see why.
The 22-year-old started the 2017 season on fire at the plate, but the same can’t be said for his more recent at-bats. Benintendi currently is hitless in his last 26 at-bats.
But Red Sox manager John Farrell offered an optimistic outlook on Benintendi’s current slump prior to Boston’s extra-inning win Wednesday night.
“There’s no wavering confidence in his abilities and what he’s done in a very short period of time,” Farrell told reporters, via ESPN.com. “He’s a really good-looking young player. Because of four, five games that he’s come up a little bit dry, there are other ways he can contribute.”
Despite the recent woes, Benintendi still is no worse than tied for second place on the team in home runs (five) and RBIs (23). His batting average (.280), on-base percentage (.355) and slugging percentage (.427) all have dipped, but his .781 OPS still is fourth-best on the team, if you discount Chase d’Arnaud’s one at-bat.
“I mean, I feel like I’m working hard with (hitting coach) Chili (Davis), just trying to keep things simple,” Benintendi said after Wednesday’s game, per ESPN.com. “Sometimes they just don’t fall. It’d be one thing if I was striking out half the time. But it’s just not finding holes right now. I mean, all you can do is keep playing. A lot of games left, a lot of at-bats left, so we’ll figure it out.”
Let’s take a look at a few more notes from the A’s 8-3 win at Oakland Coliseum.
— The Red Sox announced a few roster moves prior to Thursday’s game. Hector Velazquez was moved to the active roster so he could take the mound against the A’s, while Steven Wright was moved to the 60-day disabled list and infielder/outfielder Chase d’Arnaud was designated for assignment.
— This doesn’t seem ideal.
— Hector Velazquez struggled during his Major League Baseball debut. He allowed six earned runs on nine hits, three of which were home runs, over five innings. He also walked two batters while striking out four.
Thumbnail photo via Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports Images