July 9, 2020

Benintendi Tweaking Swing To Improve For Leadoff Role; Intrasquad Games Begin Today

Andrew Benintendi had a disappointing season in 2019, but he's worked on his swing and looks forward to leading off this year.

From 2018 to 2019, Benintendi's average dropped 24 points, his on-base was down 23 points, and his slugging was 34 points lower. In 2019, he had 46 fewer plate appearances than the year before, but struck out 34 more times (106 to 140).
I feel that my swing is in a better spot than it was leaving Spring Training back in March. ... Just trying to tweak a few little things. There's nothing major. Trying to find the right stride, trying to give myself more time to see the ball, trying to keep my bat in the zone a lot longer than what it was last year ...
The Red Sox begin playing intrasquad games today. Nathan Eovaldi pitched four innings, striking out four, while allowing one hit, one walk, and hitting one batter.

Manager Ron Roenicke says second baseman José Peraza has impressed him:
His swings are unbelievable how good they are. I thought the changes that he made in the three months that we were off really are benefiting him so far. We'll see how it works once we start these games, but in batting practice, his load is completely different. ... I know [hitting coach] Tim [Hyers] was staying in touch with him and [assistant hitting coach] Pete [Fatse] ... [E]very day I go watch him and I'm so impressed with what he's doing compared to what I saw when we were in Florida.
Xander Bogaerts is a little annoyed that various articles about potential contenders for 2020 do not include the Red Sox.
We're coming into the season as underdogs. With the lineup we have, and the team that we have [and] the roster we have, I don't understand how we're that much of an underdog. On paper, we're pretty solid. ... Obviously we know we're not the first-ranked pitching team in baseball. We have some guys. ... The lineup is pretty strong. As long as pitching keeps us in the game, we'll have a good chance.
With David Price with the Dodgers, Chris Sale recovering from surgery, and Eduardo Rodriguez dealing with SARS-CoV-2, Martín Pérez's importance to the rotation has greatly increased. With the Twins last year, Pérez had a first-half ERA of 4.26, followed by a 6.27 mark in the second half.

In New York, overhyping the Yankees never goes out of style. Gerrit Cole pitched five innings in an intrasquad game the other day. He gave up one run and struck out six. The Daily News could not contain its praise, gushing that Cole looked "outta this world". An intrasquad game.

The Daily News will be calling Eovaldi's unprecedented performance today "God-like", right?

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