The New York Yankees appeared to get the major shot in the arm they needed after some trade deadline moves, as they added two powerful left-handed bats to the lineup in the form of outfielder Joey Gallo and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
Rizzo has already helped cement himself as a fan favorite with the Yankees within his first handful of outings, blasting two home runs in as many games to help New York win two straight contests against the Miami Marlins. However, such monstrous jacks were harder to come by on Sunday afternoon.
Sandy Alcantara showed why he is one of the best young pitchers in the National League, as he fanned 10 Yankees in seven innings while allowing just two hits, an Aaron Judge single in the fourth and a Gallo double in the seventh.
It was up to Rizzo to come through in the clutch once again, and he delivered. Rizzo singled off of relief pitcher Richard Bleier to tie the game at 1-1 in the eighth inning, and an Aaron Judge base hit gave New York a 2-1 advantage. The lead ballooned to 3-1 by the end of the game.
Rizzo was clutch again, but the rest of the Yankees underperformed, and they can’t lean on their new first baseman to keep bailing them out.
The Yankees were bailed out by Anthony Rizzo in this series.
Rizzo knocked in three of the 10 runs that the Yankees scored in this series. His two home runs were the only two Yankee homers since Ryan LaMarre went deep against the Rays on Tuesday night! And this is on a team built to hit home runs!
In a very charitable sense of the phrase, that is a cause for concern.
Gallo will inevitably get his mammoth power stroke going, but he didn’t provide much offense in the Miami series. Aaron Judge is having a fine season, and Giancarlo Stanton is always one bad pitch away from taking the ball 500 feet, but their power numbers are down this year.
Rizzo is going to put the ball in the stands every now and again, but the Yankees deciding to bank on Rizzo hitting like this for the remaining two months is not a wise strategy. Alcantara and the Marlins have exposed that even with some new left bats, the issues hitting with runners in scoring position remain.
Rizzo has done everything that was expected of him in the last few games. He’s provided power from the left-hand side. However, one player of his caliber may not necessarily change the entire complexion of the season, and the Yankees need to all start hitting like him if they are to claw back into the playoffs.