By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Andrew Benintendi is clearly blessed with big-league talent, but the 22-year-old was due for an extended slump at some point in his early career. Hopefully, for the sake of the Red Sox offense, the rookie has officially snapped out of it after Sunday afternoon against the Orioles.
Benintendi went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, launching – and I mean launching – two eye-popping home runs, while adding an RBI single. After drawing a walk in his first at-bat, he tied the game at three runs apiece with this majestic high-arching solo shot in the top of the third inning off Orioles starter Chris Tillman:
His second homer of the game, off the Orioles’ Mike Wright, was more of a screaming line drive – the kind that might shatter your hand if you tried to catch it:
Benintendi’s batting average jumped from .259 to .269 after the three-hit day. His OPS went from .707 to .755. He had been mired in an ugly 20-for-104 (.192) slump in his previous 28 games.
Surely the rookie was excited to finally snap out of it, if only for a day. Right? Well, not really.
“Just another game. Balls fall this time,” said Benintendi (via MLB.com).
Benintendi’s reaction was a swift reminder of his even-keeled demeanor. For fans who desire their pro athletes to be fiery and emotional, Benintendi’s personality could be polarizing. When he’s hitting well, it’s “He’s so calm and collected out there!” When he’s slumping, it’s “He doesn’t even care!”
But every person is different, and you can’t expect every Red Sox player to be like David Ortiz and wear his emotions on his sleeve at all times. Benintendi just happens to be calm and reserved, regardless of his situation, and it ostensibly helps him get out of a funk when he’s stuck in one. He never panicked, even as he slumped for essentially a month straight.
But, on the other side of that coin, Benintendi won’t get all excited over one good day. As he himself said, Sunday was just another game. He will need to hit like he did on Sunday for an extended period of time in order to prove that he’s truly snapped out of it. The outfielder is young and has plenty of room for to proverbial “growing pains,” but you can rest assured that he won’t melt in the face of the heat.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.