It feels like yesterday that the Yankees were the hottest team in baseball. But, after losing seven of their last 10 games, they’ve fallen quickly back down to Earth.
With only 25 games left on the schedule — more importantly, only a half-game lead on the Boston Red Sox for the first Wild Card position in the AL — something has to change. Quickly.
The main source of the Yankees’ losing woes at the moment stems from their inefficiencies on offense. Each game, it seems one of two players are being the most productive, but everyone else’s bat is cold. That’s what plagued the Yanks earlier this season, and they’re hoping not to revert into that trend even further than they already have.
While fingers can be pointed at pitching as well (Andrew Heaney‘s continued presence on the roster for instance), the fearsome lineup that torched all teams in their path for that 13-game streak hasn’t shown its face since then.
To get back to that version of the team, manager Aaron Boone and GM Brian Cashman should head into Tuesday’s matchup against a red-hot Toronto Blue Jays squad with a fresh one through nine, something to shake it up and provide new looks for pitchers.
Maybe something like this:
The biggest and most obvious change here is dropping Gallo down, but it just has to happen.
Since joining the Yankees, Gallo has been reeling, slashing .130/.291/.325 with 61 strikeouts in 123 at-bats. That math equals just under a 50 percent strikeout rate when he comes to the plate. And hitting from his normal two hole on Monday afternoon, he struck out four times. So moving him down is essential in this case while he figures out how to strike out less.
Rizzo moves up to the two hole, which has been done by Boone, because over his last 10 games he’s been slashing .333/.385/.500 with a homer, three doubles and three RBI. His patient style of hitting is working right now, as he’s swinging at the pitches he wants each at-bat and even his outs are hard hit balls. If Boone wants that right-left-right up at the top of the lineup, Rizzo needs to be there.
I like seeing Stanton and Voit after Judge, but after Gallo in the six hole, Urshela goes there to potentially break up a strikeout fest if it boils down to it. Sanchez has been hitting well of late, but Gallo gets that six hole to break up the righties and Urshela likes to put the ball in play.
As for Torres hitting nine, he could serve as a double leadoff — or at least that’s the hope. His slugging numbers (.347 over 103 games) leaves him here, though, as the Yankees will just look for him to get on base and set things up for the guys at the top. He has three hits in 13 at-bats since returning to the Yanks.
Boone, then, has options with his bench depending on who needs rest. Brett Gardner, for instance, shouldn’t be filling in at the top, but his tough at-bats can live at the bottom of the lineup.
All in all, this is a solid lineup switch that could change some things around for New York. Put the hotter, and more patient, hitters toward the top and let those struggling to see less at-bats. Because it’s that time of year where the Yanks can’t afford to let players fight through their struggles — even if they’re crucial pieces of the pie.
We’ll ultimately see what Boone decides to do on Tuesday and moving forward in the heat of September.