Coming off their first break in 20 straight games, the New York Yankees are gearing up to face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday evening. However, prior to the start of the game, it was announced that starting first baseman Anthony Rizzo would not participate.
According to Pete Caldera of USA Today, the Yankees scratched Anthony Rizzo from the lineup due to lower back stiffness.
Rizzo has been a force for the Yankees in the batter’s box this season. He’s hitting .223 with a 33.6% on-base rate, .507 slugging percentage, 22 homers, and 52 RBIs. He features a 17.9% strikeout rate and 11.4% walk rate. His 140 wRC+ is fantastic, indicating he’s 40% better than the average MLB player.
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How will the Yankees replace Rizzo at 1st base?
In place of Rizzo, the Yankees will start DJ LeMahieu at first with Matt Carpenter in the designated hitter spot. DJ has spent 76.1 innings this year at first, recording a perfect fielding percentage and one defensive run saved.
LeMahieu’s versatility has proven to be a phenomenal asset for the Bombers, especially when difficult situations like this arise.
DJ has been on an absolute tear for the Yankees over the past few weeks, hitting .272 with a 40% on-base rate in the month of June.
To start July, he’s hitting .250 with a 45.5% on base rate. Showcasing more patience at the plate, DJ has been a tremendous lead-off hitter. On the season, he’s hitting .262 with a 36.2% on-base rate, eight homers, and 32 RBIs. His 12.8% strikeout rate is the lowest it’s been since 2016 with the Colorado Rockies.
The Yankees have been trying to get Matt Carpenter more involved as well, especially considering his offensive metrics this season. The 36-year-old veteran is hitting .286 with a 41.2% on base rate and .881 slugging percentage. He’s already hit eight homers on the season over just 52 plate appearances.
Luckily for the Yankees, they have plenty of depth to supplement any deficiencies, which is on full display after Rizzo’s injury.