SEATTLE – It was just a harmless spring training game. Maybe it was also an exercise to practice perfecting. Six days before the start of the regular 2019 season, Andrew Benintendi scored first place against the Twins outside Hammond Stadium.
"It was just a coincidence," Benintendi said after training the Red Sox at T-Mobile Park Wednesday afternoon. "But we'll see (Thursday)."
There are not many occasions when you try to hit a home run on the first space you see. However, the opening day seems to be one of those occasions. Just ask Cubs Ian Happ, who has managed to beat his team's 2018 campaign. Or Mookie Betts, the former Sox leadoff hitter who jumped on a fastball run by Chris Archer and started him 408 feet from the start plate, just a few meters from the Tropicana Field Center Field Field.
"I decided to take a shot" (Beds. "(1
There is a precedent for a Red Sox player who actually does the trick.
It was the 7th April 1986, when Dwight Evans was asked by former manager John McNamara to serve as Red Sox's leadoff hitter against Detroit ace Jack Morris, for whom Evans would face the future Hall of Famer more than any other pitcher and 103 record appearances However, one has undoubtedly separated from the others.
"As sure as I am sitting here, I had a dream (of hitting a home run)," Evans said. "I absolutely had a dream , I told my wife about it. I told my Marty Barrett. I told former Red Sox coach Walt Hriniak, who said, "I do not want you thinking of home racing!" So we're in Detroit and the national anthem is playing and I have butterflies. Not that I was nervous, but I was just worried. I've been on the plate over 10,000 times, and I had no butterflies, but Opening Day begins …
"Walt comes to me and says," What will you do? What will you do? "I'm going," Walter, "I drive the line into the right midfield." He screams, "Dynamite!" Now I'm on deck and there are 55,000 people, and Morris is up there on the hill I said, "He's not throwing a ball or slider. He will try to get the first pitch and make these people rejoice. "I pop the donut and look at Marty and say," I'm going deep into the first pitch. «
For the 1986 season Morris Ultimately, he would only allow four hits for the first 35 strokes he had in front of him. Evans delivered the most convincing of the four. The swing on the first pitch on the opening day can do that.
"I'm completing the base and I'm just thank God for the moment," recalled the former Red Sox pitcher. "We're talking about it now and it still gives me goosebumps, I can not believe that I did that. "
So what chances do we have 33 years later?
Benintendi has not had a season since his freshman year at the University of Arkansas, not one who puts a ton of first notes into play after beating only 67 of his 579 thugs in 2018. He has five home races on the first field of a racket. Last season there were three bats taking advantage of the first pitch he had seen in a game to swing and bring into play. (Last year Betts batsman had played seven times without a goal to show one of the two occasions.)
Nine times last season against opponents Benintendi faces Marco Gonzales on Thursday's first pitched pitch were brought into play (all outs). The Red Sox left-hander had to prevail three times against the Mariners Southpaw
The stage is set. So why not even throw a shot at it?
"I do not know what other field it could be otherwise a fastball would be something to start a season with a curveball," Benintendi said, guessing what the slightly soft Gonzales might do. I do not change it – I could go up four clubs in one game, and when the first pitch is there every time I swing on it, if everything is perfect, I'll swing … We'll see . "