The Yankees return to the Bronx on Monday to face the Orioles for a three-game series. Can you imagine the fans' reaction when they see Rizzo for the first time? He has been productive since he joined the Yanks on Friday. Rizzo is hitting .556 (5-for-9) with two home runs and three RBIs.
“I’m just excited to go there and see that atmosphere and feel that energy,” Rizzo said. “It definitely helps coming off a sweep this weekend. The energy in [the clubhouse] has been very high.”
The energy has been high because of Rizzo, according to teammate Brett Gardner.
“He knows what it takes to get where we want to go. Just a lot of energy,” Gardner said. “It’s great to have him on our side. It has been fun getting to know him the last couple of days. [It’s been a lot of] fun to watch him obviously. Yeah, he’s coming up with big hit after big hit.”
At first, it looked like the Yankees were not going to sweep the series. It was a game that saw Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara dominate New York for seven innings. The Yanks struck out 10 times and collected just two hits against him. When he left the game, Miami was up, 1-0.
“To get the starter out was a big relief,” Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said. “He was running through us.”
But the Marlins’ bullpen came in and the Yankees took advantage. With a runner on first and reliever Anthony Bass on the mound, pinch-hitter Giancarlo Stanton hit what looked like a double-play grounder to third baseman Brian Anderson, who bobbled the ball and threw it away to put runners on first and third with one out.
The Marlins then decided to put in left-hander Richard Bleier to face Rizzo, who had a .348 batting average against lefties entering Sunday’s action. Rizzo ended up winning the battle when he singled to left field to bring home Gardner.
“[Bleier] gets a lot of left-handers to hit the ball on the ground,” Rizzo said. “I tried to stay disciplined and not try to do too much on that play.”
Manager Aaron Boone called Rizzo one of the stories of the weekend for the team.
“It’s his makeup. If you went and surveyed the league and talked to people, [you call him] an elite teammate, great leader, easy to connect with everyone,” Boone said about Rizzo.
Judge followed Rizzo with a single to left field, sending Stanton home to put New York ahead.
The Marlins’ defense did them in again an inning later. Two errors by second baseman Jazz Chisolm Jr. allowed Gleyber Torres to score the third run for New York.
Reliever Joely Rodríguez picked up the victory in his first appearance as a Yankee, while Aroldis Chapman picked up the save.
“We have been playing better baseball for a while,” Boone said. “We had the documented difficult losses, but we continued to get off the mat. Obviously, we brought in some really good players [Rizzo, Rodríguez, Joey Gallo and Andrew Heaney] into the mix that have come in as contributors right away. I think everyone is excited about that. … They know the tough road that is ahead of us. I feel we are ready to embrace it.”