Two of the youngest stars on the Boston Red Sox have started the abbreviated season on a bad note. Through two games, left fielder Andrew Benintendi and third baseman Rafael Devers are a combined 0-18 with nine strikeouts. Slow starts have a much larger impact in a 60-game season, but manager Ron Roenicke isn’t worried about the two youngsters.
Ron Roenicke Isn’t Worried About Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers
Through the first two games, Benintendi and Devers have hit in the first and third spots in the lineup, respectively. Even with the offensive onslaught from Game 1, this isn’t a sustainable model for success. However, Roenicke is confident that both players will get over their slumps sooner rather than later.
Roenicke blames the early struggles on a desire to “press” during the early part of the season. The first-year manager noted that both players were “swinging the bat well” in camp, and both guys have a track record of successful major league play.
Devers reportedly struggled with weight during the four-month COVID-induced baseball hiatus, but Roenicke says conditioning isn’t an issue. Devers is chasing an abnormal amount of outside pitches, which Roenicke chalks up to a desire to force a hit. In time, Roenicke says, this issue will correct itself.
Benintendi, meanwhile, just got unlucky. Roenicke says he sees signs of life in Benintendi’s game and specifically referenced an at-bat in Saturday’s contest.
“He hit one line drive, you think all of the sudden he got his first hit but a guy was standing right there. They’ll both be fine”
Rafael Devers is coming off an absolute breakout 2019 campaign. As the full-time third baseman, Devers recorded a .311/.361/.555 slash line with a corresponding 132 wRC+ and a 5.9 fWAR in 702 plate appearances. Benintendi, meanwhile, is coming off a relatively disappointing season. While not bad by any means, most expected him to be better than his .266/.343/.431 slash line.
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