At this rate, Anthony Rizzo could work his way into the American League MVP Awards race – or maybe Monument Park, in the last two months of the regular season.
OK, none of these things are going to happen anytime soon, but Rizzo continued to make his mark in his first week with the Yankees and helped spark Wednesday night’s 3-10 win over the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
For the Yankees it was their seventh straight win in eight years. Their 16-8 record during this stretch is tied to the Rays for being the best in the majors.
“We had a lot of people who really contributed,” said Yanks manager Aaron Boone. “Whether it’s the start pitching, the bullpen, guys in the line-up, the guys we obviously brought to the deadline.”
Rizzo was one of those guys who was taken over by the Cubs on July 29th to add some left-handed balance to the Yankees lineup. All he has done in his first six games is to beat .400 / .519 / .850 with three home runs and six RBIs.
“It’s definitely special,” said Rizzo. “Joining the trade deadline and being successful immediately is never a matter of course for me.”
“It fits right in from Jump Street,” Boone said. “He’s easily around, he loves to play the game, he loves to talk about the game. He has a laid-back personality and energy, but he’s also this great competitor. He was a perfect guy to put him in the room. “
The Yankees line-up looked lifeless for the first three innings on Wednesday night, held by Orioles right-handed Matt Harvey. The only bat to hit the base during this time was Rizzo, who did a memorable 13-pitch walk while launching several wannabe home runs that simply refused to be fair.
“It’s one of those at-bats that gets the crowd going early,” Boone said. “That’s one of the things he’s known for and one of the things we love about him. He’s also one of those people who makes it difficult, and the more we can do that as a group, the better we will be offensive. “
Jameson Taillon, disregarding the decision despite only allowing three runs (two earned) and streaking 10 over 6 1/3 innings, had a thought on his mind when he saw Rizzo’s first inning fight with Harvey: he couldn’t wait to see his next trip to the plate.
“I think he had seven trips at over 95 km / h, he just resented them,” said Taillon. “On the pitcher’s side, it’s like, ‘Shoot, I threw him everything I got. He seems to be on everything, he’s out right now, but he’s found his barrel. ‘ I was actually looking forward to his next at-bat because he was on every field, he saw the ball well, and he had probably seen everything he had. In fact, he meets a homer. “
After the Yankees fell 3-0 in their fourth game, Rizzo’s solo home run against Harvey brought New York onto his first run – not to mention his first hit.
“Seeing all of his pitches there helped,” said Rizzo. “Whenever you grind a pitcher like that, I feel like it’s always to the hitter’s advantage. I took a walk and then the next time he saw him he just let one lie over the middle and I put a good swing on it. “
Gleyber Torres added an RBI single in the fourth, then DJ LeMahieu linked it to an RBI single in the fifth for the first of his four RBIs.
New York opened the game in seventh place in five runs, a rally highlighted by Giancarlo Stanton’s three-run double as the Yankees drove to another straight win.
The Americans are 5-1 since Rizzo and Joey Gallo hit the stage, albeit against a pair of the last few clubs in the Marlins and Orioles. On Thursday, the Yankees in the Bronx open a series of four games against the Mariners, one of the other teams in the middle of the American League wild card race.
Rizzo will seek to become only the second player in the last 70 years to have an RBI in each of his first seven games with a team. The other? Former Yankees star Bobby Murcer, who ran in each of his first seven games with the 1977 Cubs. Rizzo, a former cub, will try to accomplish the same feat in pinstripes.
“The Orioles did pretty well for us in the first game, we came back and won the next two,” said Rizzo. “You just take it day after day, put your head down, grind. You look up and start looking for victories. It’s fun and you get going, but everyday life doesn’t stop. It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, you have to come over the next day and prepare for the pitcher the next day. “