The New York Yankees overcame the Baltimore Orioles in a wild win on Tuesday evening, scoring 12 runs and featuring one of the best offenses performances of the year. Just a week ago, the Bombers may have been blown out in this contest, but the batter finally awakened and provided the run support the pitchers desperately needed.
Luis Severino got the start against the Orioles, lasting six innings before giving up a three-run homer to Anthony Santander, bringing them within three of the Yankees’ lead. However, the Yanks did everything in their power to continue extending the lead, despite a resilient Baltimore performance, tallying eight runs on the day.
However, if it wasn’t for the performance of first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the Yankees might’ve had a harder time putting away the Orioles. Rizzo went 3-for-4, including six RBIs and a walk. Rizzo hosts a .283 batting average this season with a .733 slugging percentage.
In fact, Rizzo currently leads the MLB with eight homers, trailed by Joc Pederson, Byron Buxton, Ozzie Albies, and a slew of other players with six. Rizzo has been an absolute menace to open the year, taking advantage of the short right porch in Yankee Stadium. All three of his homers against Baltimore were within 380 feet, with the first landing 346 feet, the second 378 feet, and the third 327 feet.
His final homer on the evening just barely squeaked inside the right-field foul pole, the shortest part of the stadium from home plate to the wall.
Through 17 games, it seems as if general manager Brian Cashman made a genius decision retaining Rizzo instead of allocating multiple prospects in exchange for Matt Olson of the Oakland Athletics or a big-money acquisition like Freddie Freeman.
Olson ended up being traded to Atlanta to replace Freeman. Despite only hitting two homers this year so far, he’s recorded a .355 average over 17 games with a 19.7% strikeout rate and 17.1% walk rate. Olson is still enjoying a phenomenal performance up to this point, but his home run totals don’t even closely mirror Rizzo’s.
On the other hand, Freeman is hitting .328 with three homers and a 16.4% strikeout rate. Rizzo hosts the lowest strikeout rate out of the three and cost the Yankees far less in capital to retain.
The 32-year-old first baseman signed a two-year, $32 million deal to stick with the Yankees, and while he was a backup option, he’s proving why Cashman made the right decision by keeping his prospects and being loyal to a player already on the roster.