Everybody needs a summer vacation.

Baseball players don’t get to take one. They play 162 games in 184 days. If you’re a big league ballplayer, your only chance to catch a breath is if you’re not named to the All-Star team.

Unless your manager decides to give you a break.

That’s what Boston Red Sox Manager John Farrell decided to do with Andrew Benintendi last month. Benintendi was struggling as pitchers adjusted to his swing, so Farrell sat him down. As July turned to August, the rookie phenom was not in the starting lineup three times in five games. He got a total of one pinch at-bat in those three nonstarts, giving him plenty of time to think about what he needed to do when he returned to the starting lineup.

What he’s done is remind us why he was among the favorites to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award entering this season.

That award has been essentially handed out to New York Yankees Baby Bomber Aaron Judge. As Judge bashed his way to the Home Run Derby title at the All-Star Game, many said he was both the Rookie of the Year and the MVP.

Perhaps we judged him too soon.

Benintendi has been the far better player in the second half of the season so far, and that was made obvious over the weekend in New York. We don’t give out series MVP awards for regular-season matchups, but if we did Benintendi would’ve come home with a trophy. He hit three home runs and drove in nine runs in the three-game series. He delivered in the 10th inning to seal Sunday’s remarkable come-from-behind win over the Yankees, giving the Red Sox their biggest lead in the AL East this season.

Meanwhile, Judge did little to lift the spirits of his fans wearing black robes and white wigs in the “Judge’s Chamber” in right field at Yankee Stadium.

Here’s a comparison of the two rookies since the All-Star break, entering Monday’s games:

• Batting average: Benintendi .281, Judge .165.

• OPS: Benintendi .817, Judge .663.

• Home runs: Benintendi 4, Judge 5.

• Extra-base hits: Benintendi 8, Judge 6.

• RBI: Benintendi 15, Judge 12.

• Stolen bases: Benintendi 5, Judge 1.

• Strikeouts: Benintendi 21, Judge 46.

The Rookie of the Year Award is handed out based on an entire season, and Judge still leads the American League with 35 home runs. Chances are he will win the award.

Could Benintendi win it? It’s not out of the question. With seven weeks remaining in the season there is plenty of time for the gap to close in the overall statistics. And the final AL East standings could factor into the decision of some voters. If the Sox finish first, Benintendi will be a big reason why.

The Benintendi-Judge showdown has sparked the Boston/New York rivalry once again. It’ll be back on center stage this weekend at Fenway Park, and again on Labor Day weekend in the Bronx. By the end of that holiday weekend we’ll know who’s the favorite to win the division – and who’s the league’s best rookie.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.