For the first time since his debut season in 2016, Andrew Benintendi is batting ninth for the Red Sox in Tuesday night’s game against the Mets at Fenway Park. This is likely the case because New York will be rolling with 24-year-old rookie left-hander David Peterson as their starting pitcher to close out this short two-game series.
Outside of the 2016 season, the only other time Benintendi has been in the nine-hole has been as a pinch-hitter. In 95 career plate appearances as a No. 9 hitter, the 26-year-old is slashing .329/.372/.553 with two home runs, 11 doubles, and 13 RBI.
Narrowing that sample size down, Benintendi is a lifetime .222/.211/.222 hitter in 20 career plate appearances against southpaws when batting out of the nine-hole.
That second set of data may not be as encouraging as the first, but perhaps moving Benintendi down in the Sox’ batting order is what the former first-round pick needs in order to clear his head a little bit seeing how he is off to a 1-for-14 start at the plate four games into the 2020 season.
Before Monday’s game against the Mets, Benintendi didn’t seem too concerned about his slow start. At the time, he had yet to record a hit, but as previously mentioned, he picked up his first knock of the season later that same day on an infield bunt single.
“I’m usually a slow starter,” Benintendi said when speaking to reporters via Zoom. “I’m not panicking. So hopefully I’ll get that first one tonight and then roll from there.”
Out of the nine-hole on Tuesday, Benintendi certainly has the opportunity to get on a roll. Just like everyone else in the Red Sox lineup, he has never faced Peterson before at the major-league level.
Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind left-hander Matt Hall, who will be making his first career big-league start in this one.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Last game in Boston for the Sox before they spend five straight days in New York City.