Leandre: It’s Broke, Please Fix it

The Boston Red Sox have endured much greater success in their last month of baseball, going 21-10 to improve their record to a far more respectable 27-23.

However, during that stretch, it has not always been easy for the reigning World Series Champs.

The Red Sox have watched as Chris Sale seems to have turned a corner, but neither the offense or bullpen turn out for him. We’ve also watched as the bullpen has gone almost full self-destruct time and time again. Yet, they’re still winning games with this almost “bend, but don’t break” style of play.

If there is one piece to this jigsaw puzzle of Red Sox baseball that definitely isn’t contributing, it’s the piece Alex Cora keeps trying to force into the top spot in the lineup: Andrew Benintendi.

Benintendi has been fine overall on the season, slashing .267/.362/.417 through his first 45 games played this season.

Not quite what you would desire from a leadoff hitter who doesn’t have 30 home run power, but serviceable.


Wrong. When you think of a leadoff hitter, you think of someone capable of setting the tone for an offense at the beginning of a game. Not someone who is a solid hitter, but almost always brings up your two-hitter with nobody on and one out in the first.

Which is exactly what Andrew Benintendi has done in 2019. When he is the first batter of the game for Boston, he is batting a putrid .088 with a strikeout rate of 33.3 percent, and an OBP of .205.

Yes, you read that right. The first batter of the ballgame for the Boston Red Sox is more likely to strike out than he is of reaching first base.

I did some research (as seen above) on this topic, and came to the conclusion that Andrew Benintendi is statistically the worst leadoff hitter the Red Sox have had since the turn of the century.

It doesn’t get any better for No. 16 when you dive in deeper into Red Sox history either.

The Red Sox have been able to right the ship, somewhat, in their last 31 games. However, it is not as if Benintendi has been a key to their success. In his last 31 games, that the Red Sox have gone 21-10 in, he’s hitting at a decent .254 clip.

Again, solid, just not what you want from your supposed tone-setter at the top of the lineup.

Benintendi hit .293 out of the leadoff spot in the team’s first 19 games, although those games were riddled with garbage time innings, en route to a 6-13 Red Sox record.

The cliché saying since the beginning of time is, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” However, news flash for Alex Cora… this little experiment that has seen the 24-year-old Benintendi bat first every game is simply NOT working.

It’s time to make a switch because, against teams like Houston and New York, you cannot afford to just hand the opposing team an out at the start of the game. Those pitchers are way too talented to allow to settle into a groove right away.

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