Since ripping off 13 wins in a row, the Yankees have hit a rut, dropping 8-of-10 games, including their last four in a row.
As they continue to fight for their lives in order to secure a playoff spot, they are going to need all of the help they can get. This includes a turnaround in the performances of two key players, who haven’t been cutting it lately.
On Tuesday evening, Yankees manager Aaron Boone opted to bench Joey Gallo and Gleyber Torres, in what he called a “reset” day off.
Since the Yankees acquired Gallo, who made the All-Star team in July, he has been abysmal. In 123 at-bats, Gallo has struck out 61 times and is batting .130.
“I’m trying to get back into the feel I was having earlier in the year, just getting my swing back to where I feel good and letting the ball travel. Just getting back to that,” Gallo said. “Obviously you want to play well, especially coming to a new team. But at the same time, it’s not the first time [I’ve slumped].”
“It’s baseball and you’re going to struggle sometimes, but obviously I’m working hard to get back to where I know I can be and help the team win. It’s frustrating not winning games, but that’s part of baseball. I just have to keep working and showing up every day and figure it out.”
As for Torres, his glove at shortstop continues to be an issue, as he made two crucial mistakes defensively in back-to-back losses leading up to his benching. Torres recently returned from the injured list on Friday, and his previous replacement, Andrew Velazquez, started over him in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays. Velazquez went 2-for-3 with a run scored in this contest, but Boone says he doesn’t envision Torres losing additional playing time in the future or getting subbed out defensively late in games.
Then, Velazquez got the start over Torres again on Wednesday.
“I know Gleyber’s made a couple of mistakes defensively the last couple of days and has had some on the year, but I think it’s important to look at the body of work Gleyber’s put in this year defensively. It’s been a lot of steady play,” Boone said. “He’s had some plays that the narrative kind of lasts on one play for the better part of a month, but if you look at the day in and day out body of work, I think he’s been really steady for us.”
Boone is hoping that the day off for Gallo will help him “catch his breath” and that getting extra work in with the hitting coaches will benefit him moving forward.
Gallo leads the American League with 186 strikeouts and 102 walks this year and agrees with Boone that a day off can works wonders every now and then. He also doesn’t mind the boos he has been hearing from the fans and understands where they are coming from, given how he has performed.
While the Yankees scramble to right the ship with little time left, they will need Gallo and Torres to start playing up to expectations – and fast.
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