Red Sox extra bases: Watch out Aaron Judge, here comes Andrew Benintendi

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 8: Andrew Benintendi
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 8: Andrew Benintendi /

Rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi continues to be hot at the plate for the Boston Red Sox, climbing his way back into the Rookie of the Year conversation.

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees rivalry is alive again.  Not only are the two teams battling for the American League East crown, the young star power on both teams are starting to emerge.

While the Yankees have power-hitting, home run derby winner Aaron Judge leading the way for the AL Rookie of the Year honors, the Red Sox have a mix of young players, including outfielder Andrew Benintendi.

Although Judge leads all rookies in OPS, home runs and RBIs, what Benintendi has done the last month is certainly opening up the Rookie of the Year discussion again.  Over the last month, “Benny Ballgame,” “Benny Biceps,” or whatever you want to call him has an OPS of 1.101 with six home runs and 16 RBIs.  It is a hot streak that happens to coincide with Judge’s current slump.

Boston Red Sox
ARLINGTON, TX – JULY 04: Andrew Benintendi /

No, a month does not win the award, but what Benintendi is doing is beyond the numbers.  During this stretch, he has helped the Red Sox extend their AL East lead to 4.5 games over Judge’s Yankees.  He has done it on defense and he has been clutch as he has delivered in game-winning fashion.

One of those game winning hits came against the Yankees in the series in New York.  He went 5-for-13 in the series with three homers.  Along with fellow Boston Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers, Benintendi proved to be a Yankees killer as both players continued to come through big for the Sox when the series shifted back to Boston.

Related Story: Boston Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi’s blistering August nights

Breaking out of a July swoon

What has been most impressive about Andrew Benintendi’s rise this past month is how he has battled back from a major slump.  Something we’ll have to watch to see if Judge can do.

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Following being benched for two games back in July, Benintendi said he hasn’t changed a thing when it comes to his approach at the plate.  He needed those days to mentally re-focus and boy has it paid off.

In talking about Benintendi coming out of the slump, Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis said he just had to go back to trusting his swing.

"“It’s reminding him that no matter how they pitch you, your swing is there,” Davis said earlier in August, via the Providence Journal.  “You do the right things, you see the ball, you will hit it.  He’s the kind of kid who doesn’t need to take 1,000 swings.”"

He is proving it during his torrid August, including another home run in Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians.  Although the Red Sox went on to lose the game, the young rookie proved once again that he isn’t afraid of the big stage.

In fact, Andrew Benintendi basically replicated the home run he hit in last year’s ALDS against the Indians.  The two-run blast set the tone early and further solidified the rookie as a big-game hitter.

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Although it will take a detrimental slump by Aaron Judge for Benintendi to catch him in the Rookie of the Year race, he is etching his name as a player whose star is shining bright.

Especially on the big stage.