Anthony Rizzo looks to create more chances to ‘get hits’ as he aims to recapture prime form

Anthony Rizzo playing in the middle of a Yankees' MLB game in 2024
NY POST
Esteban Quiñones
Saturday June 15, 2024

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Anthony Rizzo was all smiles during his brief post-game interview on Friday night. The Yankees’ first baseman was in a great mood. His team had crushed the Red Sox 8-1 in the first of a three-game series at Fenway, and his mini-resurgence continued with his best offensive performance in over a month.

Anthony Rizzo understood the significance of Verdugo’s return to Fenway Park, as his four years in Boston had ended on a sour note. He was thrilled to see his friend secure three hits in five at-bats, including a two-run home run on the first pitch of the first inning, a run-scoring double, and an RBI single.

In addition to the Yankees’ win, which improved their MLB record to 50-22, it was Alex Verdugo’s stellar performance in his first game back in Boston since last winter’s trade that had Rizzo ecstatic.

Along with manager Aaron Boone and captain Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo had lobbied general manager Brian Cashman to bring Verdugo to the team. He admires Verdugo’s contact skills at the plate, his outfield defense, and especially the energy his vibrant personality brings to the stadium every day.

Anthony Rizzo acknowledges personal improvement

Yankees' Anthony Rizzo during an MLB game
NY POST

Anthony Rizzo’s slump over the past few months had been evident. When asked about his recent form, he gave a succinct response about achieving three solid games at the plate following a frustrating period that included being benched for two games and speculation that the Yankees might need a new first baseman before the July 30 trade deadline.

Like Judge, Anthony Rizzo isn’t one to talk about himself much. However, he conveyed his feelings in a three-sentence response.

“It’s a good feeling,” Anthony Rizzo said after securing two hits in three at-bats, including an RBI single and a walk. “I felt like I was close and still feel close. I just want to keep giving myself good opportunities to get hits.”

Anthony Rizzo’s recent success at the plate

Yankees' players: Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres
AP

Anthony Rizzo is finally getting some hits. He had four hits in nine at-bats over the last three games leading up to Friday, with a home run, three RBIs, and two walks.

This marked his first three-game hitting streak since early May, following a 1-for-34 slump that dropped his season average to .220. He was 1-for-29, was benched for two games, and then went 0-for-5 in his first game back last Tuesday in Kansas City.

Since then, Anthony Rizzo has had several good plate appearances, going 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly in a win over the Royals on Wednesday, 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk in Thursday’s loss in Kansas City, and then his first two-hit game in June on Friday.

Boone’s confidence in Anthony Rizzo

“He’s making a difference,” said manager Aaron Boone. “Even going back to the first game after the days off where he didn’t get a hit, he was close, hitting the ball hard. The next day he made better decisions and was moving more slowly in the box, not rushing and getting some results.”

During Friday night’s 8-1 victory over the Red Sox, Yankees manager Aaron Boone was pleased to see Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI single with two outs in the fifth inning against a left-handed pitcher. This hit, coming just after the Red Sox brought in reliever Cam Booser, extended the Yankees’ lead to 5-1.

“It was a great at-bat against the lefty to get to 2-1 in the count, then drive a fastball through the gap,” Boone said.

Rizzo’s average is still low at .228, and his OPS of .628 is poor, but he is finally trending upwards.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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