On April 25, Andrew Benintendi was hitting .218 with one home run.
To say things have changed since then would be a huge understatement.
Entering Monday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Benintendi was hitting .330 with five homers and 20 RBIs in his last 28 games. Then the star outfielder, while batting out of the leadoff spot, went 3-for-5 with a triple and four RBIs, including a three-run homer, in Boston’s 8-3 win at Fenway Park.
Thanks to his recent hot streak, Benintendi now is batting .292 with an .899 OPS to go along with seven homers and 37 RBIs. He also has eight stolen bases and has recorded extra-base hits in six straight games.
Benintendi’s fifth-inning homer went over the Green Monster, representing the first opposite-field shot at Fenway Park of his young career, as well as a clear indication the 23-year-old is locked in at the plate.
“I’m seeing the (ball) pretty good,” Benintendi said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “You know, it’s fun to hit (at Fenway Park), I feel like I see the ball well here … It’s going good right now and I’m just trying to help the team win.”
Red Sox manager Alex Cora believes Benintendi’s approach at the plate has been the key to his resurgence.
“He’s staying on pitches, you can see with his takes. The way he’s taking pitches tells you a lot,” Cora said. “We’ve been talking about him lately, staying in the zone, not chasing pitches. He was able to get that pitch in the air and the other way.
“He’s feeling good about himself, putting up good at-bats, not expanding. Those are all good signs for hitters.”
With all that’s expected of players such as Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts, it’s easy to forget that Benintendi has as much (if not more) offensive upside as any of his teammates. And if Benintendi can hit the next step in his development — he hit .271 with 20 homers and 90 RBIs last season — the Red Sox offense could be virtually unstoppable.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Blue Jays:
— Jackie Bradley Jr., of course, has had a tough start at the plate so far this season. But he hit an RBI double Monday afternoon, and has shown signs that he might be turning a corner.
— David Price gave up two runs in five innings while picking up the win Monday. The solid outing continued his recent run of successful trips to the mound.
— The New York Yankees lost to the Houston Astros on Monday. Boston now leads New York by two games not just in the American League East standings, but also for the best record in Major League Baseball.
— Knuckleballer Steven Wright pitched two scoreless innings Monday. With Drew Pomeranz struggling mightily, Wright is making a compelling case to return to the rotation.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP