The New York Yankees owe their much-needed, exhilarating victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night to Anthony Rizzo’s significant contributions. Rizzo delivered a remarkable performance, hitting two home runs and making three RBIs in four at-bats during his Mandalorian bobblehead night. This triumphant win allows the Yankees to anticipate future games more optimistically, underscoring the importance of acknowledging Rizzo’s stellar performance.
Brian Cashman, the general manager, made several questionable moves this past off-season. Among these, extending Anthony Rizzo’s contract for two more years stands out as one of the most astute decisions. Despite the team’s offensive struggle at the onset of the 2023 campaign, 33-year-old Rizzo continually demonstrates his exceptional skill.
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The Yankees are getting the best of Anthony Rizzo:
Battling chronic back pain, Rizzo has nonetheless participated in 39 games so far, boasting a .301 batting average, a .387 OBP, and a .500 slugging percentage. While these figures may fluctuate as the season progresses, his current batting average would constitute a career-best.
Rizzo has achieved an impressive 150 wRC+. He has previously had similar success, notably during his 2015 season with the Chicago Cubs when he played in 160 games, achieved a .278 batting average, a .387 OBP, a 145 wRC+, and made 31 home runs and 101 RBIs.
Although the “Italian Stallion” is currently experiencing a career-high strikeout rate of 20.2%, his offensive prowess has been vital to the Yankees, especially given the struggles of his fellow teammates. With eight home runs so far this season, Rizzo is projected to hit 33 home runs this year, surpassing his previous record of 32 in 2022.
The harsh reality is that the Yankees are battling from the bottom of the AL East. Without Rizzo’s influence, their situation would be significantly more disheartening. On the defensive front, the seasoned infielder boasts a .989 fielding percentage this season, with three errors over 306 innings. However, he has also achieved two defensive runs saved and three outs above average, mirroring his peak years with Chicago.
The Yankees’ rally around Rizzo is heartening, with Anthony Volpe also delivering a strong performance against the Rays on Friday. Volpe concluded the game with one home run and two RBIs, taking his demotion in the batting order in stride. Looking forward, the Bombers anticipate their Saturday afternoon face-off against Tampa at 1:05 PM, with Nestor Cortés on the mound.