A little more than a month ago, Andrew Benintendi was being sat for multiple games in a row because, in the words of his manager, "we need him to feel hitter-ish again."
Safe to say that's happened.
Benintendi had three hits Friday night - a single, double and triple - in the Red Sox' 9-1 victory over the Orioles and since July 22, when Benintendi homered for the first time in more than a month in going 3-for-5 in a 9-4 victory over the Rays, he's hit .394 with five homers, 21 RBI and an OPS of 1.131.
The secret? It's what he's not doing. Benintendi got rid of the leg kick in his stance that he'd been using the first three months of the season. He bottomed when he was benched in the series in London when Alex Cora blamed the left fielder's "heavy legs." Then after an 0-for-12 stretch, he sat for the July 4 and 5 games in Toronto and Detroit. That's when he wasn't "hitter-ish."
He went 4-for-6 the next day in Detroit to raise his average from .266 to .274. He's now at .291 with 12 homers and 63 RBI for the season and is thriving in the fifth spot in the order after a failed experiment as a leadoff hitter early in the season and then ceding the No. 2 spot to red-hot Rafael Devers.
“It’s definitely made me feel more comfortable eliminating that leg kick," Benintendi told reporters after the game Friday. "Just trying to keep it simple.”
With or without the leg kick, Benintendi was confident he'd turn it around.
“I never felt like I doubted anything,” he said. “I’m still just going out there and playing. Things just seem to be going better than they did in the first half.”
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