NEW YORK -- A month that started with a slumping Andrew Benintendi getting a rare two-day break from the starting lineup has swiftly transformed into a torrid stretch of hitting for the rookie left fielder.The peak of Benintendi's impressive August run came on Saturday, when he put an absolute hurting
NEW YORK -- A month that started with a slumping Andrew Benintendi getting a rare two-day break from the starting lineup has swiftly transformed into a torrid stretch of hitting for the rookie left fielder.
The peak of Benintendi's impressive August run came on Saturday, when he put an absolute hurting on the Yankees, belting a pair of three-run homers to lift the Red Sox to a 10-5 victory.
Benintendi became the youngest Red Sox player to have six RBIs against the Yankees since 1920, and the only Boston player besides Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx in 1938 to club a pair of three-run jacks against the Bronx Bombers in the same game.
"I didn't know that, but I guess that's cool," said Benintendi.
To make it sweeter, Benintendi's second six-RBI performance of the season came in front of roughly 20 family members who flew in from Ohio for the weekend. He has three homers in the first two games of this series.
"Yeah, my grandpa on my dad's side turned 85 [on Friday] and he's from Brooklyn, so my entire side of the family from that side came up," said Benintendi, who planned on having dinner with the entire contingent on Saturday.
Benintendi is thankful the family outing didn't take place during July, when he hit .222 with two homers.
Manager John Farrell looked at that body of work and decided it was best for Benintendi not to play against right-handers on July 31 and Aug. 1. The Red Sox got rained out on Aug. 2.
The next day, Benintendi was back in the lineup, and he has been hammering the baseball from gap to gap and over walls since he returned.
In August, Benintendi is slashing .484/.541/.968 with four homers and 11 RBIs.
"Yeah, I kind of got some rest and got my legs back under me," Benintendi said. "I wasn't physically tired, but just kind of a mental break has really helped. I mean, there was some frustration from not doing well obviously. Just kind of sitting back and watching the game and relaxing was beneficial."
These are the types of streaks pundits imagined when Benintendi was the prohibitive preseason favorite to win the American League's Rookie of the Year Award. Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge changed the narrative with his amazing first half. With Judge now slumping, perhaps Benintendi can sneak back into the Rookie of the Year race.
"He's having an unreal year and he's kind of struggling right now, and I went through that for two months," Benintendi said. "I'm sure he'll figure it out."
There hasn't been any noticeable changes in technique for Benintendi, who has a pretty swing from the left side. He has been a little more aggressive early in the count.
"When I was struggling, I felt like I was always down 0-1, 0-2, 1-2," said Benintendi. "You're not going to have much success when you're always down in the count."
Benintendi's first homer was on a 1-1 fastball by Luis Severino that came in at 97.6 mph. In the fifth, he smoked a 1-0 slider by Severino. According to Statcast™, the blasts had projected distances of 371 feet (first homer) and 397 feet.
"It feels the exact same," said Benintendi. "I haven't changed a thing. I'm not missing pitches like I was previously."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.