New York Yankees slumping Joey Gallo hoping Sunday’s home run is a sign of good things to come

Joey Gallo
New York Yankees’ Joey Gallo hits a single.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

To paraphrase Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa, one hit is all it takes, and New York Yankees’ Joey Gallo is certainly hoping that’s true after he hit his first home run since May 15 in the Bombers’ 5-4 win on Sunday

The two-run shot that tied the game at two in the bottom of the fifth was Gallo’s sixth of the season and helped snap the sixth-longest homerless streak of his career. More importantly, it could serve as a turning point for Gallo who has struggled offensively this season. 

After a quarter of the way through the season, Gallo is batting .176 with an OPS of .601. In 136 at-bats this season, he has struck out 60 times, which included in the seventh inning on Sunday with the bases loaded. 

But there was plenty of optimism in the air after the crucial two-run homer from the struggling Gallo. 

“Every hits nice, but I think that was kind of a big home run and kind of got us a little momentum and what not,” Gallo said. “I mean obviously, it feels nice to, like I said, just help the team and come through. I feel like I haven’t helped the team too much at the plate lately, so that felt good coming in the dugout and feeling like I contributed.”

Gallo’s offense has started to come around a bit with him reaching base a bit more recently. In his last eight games, he has hit safely five times and he has reached base safely in 15 of his last 21 games. 

And his xSLG of .474 could be an indicator that the 28-year-old is starting to out of his home run hitting funk. 

Yankees manager Aaron Boone had said he wanted Gallo to “quiet” some things down with his at-bats and simplify his approach. Gallo seemed to have taken the advice to heart. 

“I feel like hitting is a lot about confidence and feel at the plate,” Gallo said. “It’s not as easy as just to go up there and hit the ball. It’s a lot that goes into it. But yeah, I think quieting some stuff down and also having the confidence to swing the bat and not worry about as much swinging and missing. Sometimes it’s going to happen, so just trying to take my ‘A’ swing and swing at strikes.”

Gallo is a very well-liked member of the Yankees organization inside the clubhouse and the players around him are well aware of what he could mean to their success. There were plenty of smiles and high fives after Gallo’s 383-foot blast on Sunday when he got back to the Yankee dugout.

“Part of our success is going to be having him play well,” said Josh Donaldson, who drove in the winning run in the bottom off the 10th inning. “He does a great job in the field and he’s been putting some at-bats together and today was a nice reward. I’m sure that felt good for him and for us.”

Joey Gallo
New York Yankees’ Joey Gallo, left, scores as Aaron Hicks, right, heads to first base during the second inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Sunday, May 15, 2022.AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The Yankees have been on a tear of late. They took a six-game homestand against the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers this past week and have a 7.5-game lead in the AL East. 

At 39-15 through the first quarter of the season, New York has the best record during that time span since the 2001 Seattle Mariners. The winning has helped ease some of the pain for Gallo as he struggled through the first two months of the season, he still hoped that Sunday’s homer was the start of something better. 

“Obviously winning heals most things I would say, but you still want to I think at the same time you feel like there’s a responsibility you have to the team as well,” he explained. “At some point to contribute and be the guy who wins the game sometimes and not always the guy who is relying on the other guys to do it. It’s been an incredible run so far we’ve had this beginning of the season, but it’s a long season and hopefully, I can contribute more in the future.”