Red Sox Notes: Andrew Benintendi’s Struggles Continue In Loss Vs. Rays

Andrew Benintendi has been struggling mightily this season, to say the least.
The Red Sox left fielder is a painful 2-for-29 with 12 strikeouts through Boston’s first 11 games. And those struggles were on full display in his team’s 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
Benintendi went 0-for-5 at Tropicana Field with two strikeouts, including getting rung up in the ninth with the bases loaded to end the game with the tying run at the plate. If he ever needed a hit, then was the time to get one.
Of course, there’s still time for Benintendi to break out of his slump and go on a tear, which Boston so desperately needs after dropping to 3-8 on the season.
But it’s not just Benintendi. Jackie Bradley Jr. has gone cold, too. The center fielder, who showcased his brilliant defense Tuesday night with a web gem, is on an 0-for-21 stretch after beginning the season hot.
That’s all changed now, though, but manager Ron Roenicke doesn’t see himself benching either play for more than one game.
“We’ve been kind of switching off the outfield, (Kevin) Pillar continues to have good at-bats for me. He’ll be out there tomorrow,” Roenicke said during his Zoom postgame press conference. “So we’ll continue to switch guys up. But we also know these guys that we know can hit, we’ve got a plan to get them going. Yes, I can sit them a game. I really wouldn’t want to do more than that just because I know what they can do to help this offense. And I think when all those guys are doing what I know they can, then we’ve got a powerful offense that we know can score a lot of runs. And to sit them for a while doesn’t help that much. I don’t mind sitting them a game. But if you sit them longer than that, then all of a sudden what they’ve been working on, you can’t use that transition into a ball game and then getting out of their little slump they’re in and get it going.”
Something’s gotta give. But the Red Sox don’t have a whole lot of time to figure it out.
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Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays game:
— Things were going well for Nathan Eovaldi… until the Tropicana Field catwalk happened.
The Red Sox were up 1-0 in the third thanks to a Mitch Moreland homer an inning prior. But after a missed called-third strike by home plate umpire Randy Rosenberg and Hunter Renfroe hitting the catwalk in what should have been the inning-ending out for Rafael Devers to make, things started to turn.
The ball was ruled dead and Renfroe smacked a two-out double to bring in two runs.
“It’s the only ballpark that has those rules,” Eovaldi said during his postgame Zoom presser. “You’ve just got to deal with it.”
— The Red Sox left five runners on base in the final two innings. And even though they had a bit of tough luck and J.D. Martinez hitting a ground-rule double that likely would have score Jose Peraza, Roenicke said the opportunities to get the big hits were there.
“Some things went not our way, little unlucky on J.D.’s ball too,” he said. “… But we had opportunities to get those big hits that we’ve been looking for. I know Nate wasn’t happy with his outing but he still threw the ball well. He kept us in the ballgame … if we get some of those big hits were looking for the that’s fine.”
— Boston has won two of its three games when Eovaldi has been on the mound, and Roenicke noted postgame that the team counts on him to keep them in games.
“We count on Nate to keep us in games, which he has,” Roenicke said. “And because we know he’s got a big arm we know every time he goes out there we think we’re going to win. … Put it his way: when Nate pitches we feel like we have a great chance to win…”
— Martinez, who’s in a bit of a slump himself, noted the restrictions due to COVID-19 have limited him in getting as much work in for his swing via video than he usually does every season.
It’s also impacted how he interacts with his teammates.
“You’re kind of on your own,” he said on Zoom. “It’s like ‘Survivor.’ … “There’s no computers. They’re all gone. They’ve disappeared. It’s tough, but we’ve got to adjust. We’ve got to adapt.”
— Boston has one more game against the Rays on Wednesday in hopes to snap the four-game losing skid before welcoming the Toronto Blue Jays to Fenway Park.
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