Joey Gallo wasn’t in the Yankees lineup on Wednesday as the Bronx Bombers wrapped up a seven-game homestand, so he was given a day of relief from the fan and media criticism.
That’s not to say that it hasn’t been warranted after Gallo’s struggles have only gotten worse. In Tuesday’s win, the Yankees outfielder went hitless and struck out twice.
Gallo has now gone without a hit in 24 at-bats and struck out 13 times in that span. His batting average is a paltry .167 and he has an on-base percentage of just .276.
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All of that’s to say he has not performed well and it has put skipper Aaron Boone in a prickly spot. Boone has tried to keep a positive face on through it all as he has had to try to balance the need to get Gallo at-bats to end his slump and the need to get hitters in the lineup that can contribute.
You try and balance it, that’s part of the season,” Boone said ahead of Wednesday’s game. “Some guys are going to be in the middle of great seasons, some guys are struggling and everything in between. You just gotta navigate that as best you can and try and catch guys breaks when you feel you need them, and just try to support and work alongside to unlock guys. … That’s always a challenge.”
The decision to keep Gallo in the lineup despite the rough numbers this year while others have hit increasing well has not been a hit with many. It’s not uncommon to turn on WFAN, the Yankees’ flagship radio home, and hear fans calling in to complain about the 28-year-old’s lack of production.
On Wednesday afternoon Marwin Gonzalez took Gallo’s spot in the outfield for the Yankees. Gonzalez has hit quite well, by comparison, batting .342 in the month of June with an on-base percentage of .375 and slugging percentage of .684.
Boone said that Gonzalez had been getting quality contact in his at-bats from both sides of the plate along with his versatility in the field.
The Yankees winning ways have helped keep the Gallo issue from becoming a bigger problem, but Boone sympathized with the position that Gallo finds himself in this year. New York acquired Gallo with the expectation that he’d be key part of both their defense and offense.
Gallo is a former gold glove winner and someone who has managed to get on base over the course of his career.
The Yankee trade acquisition even showed some promise earlier in the month when he finally started to hit the ball a bit better, but things have quickly fallen off. And Gallo has still been striking out 39.5% of the time this season.
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“I think the team Winning definitely helps big time, but you also have a personal expectation and pride,” Boone said. “Desire to succeed and be a part of this thing, which he very much is. It’s a heavy burden, especially when you’ve had success in this league and have been an all-star in this league and you’re not getting the results. Especially when you pour everything into it, which Joey does.
“It’s frustrating and I know it’s difficult and I know it certainly weighs on him and wears him. Unfortunately, it’s part of this sport sometimes and such a hard game, and such a game of failure. You have to find a way to figure that out.”