If the Joey Gallo era in the Bronx is coming to an end, he goes quietly and quietly. Yankee Stadium boos accompany him after every at-bat that ends in a dugout return.
Gallo, who is approaching the first anniversary of the deal that brought him to the Bronx, hasn’t turned a corner or shown the Yankees enough to warrant significant playing time, let alone the trade. With another deadline approaching, Gallo could be out as his strikeouts continue to pile up.
The outfielder went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts — each raising the decibel level of the home crowd — in the Yankees’ 5-4, 11-inning loss to the Red Sox at Stadium on Friday night.
In 21 games since June 18, the all-or-nothing slugger has almost always produced nothing. Gallo is 4-for-55 (.073) with 27 strikeouts and 14 walks with less than three weeks until the Aug. 2 deadline, when there’s a good chance he’ll play for another club.
In Gallo’s first at-bat on Friday, the No. 9 batter hit on three pitches. His biggest moment came in the fourth, when Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s brace gave the Yankees a scoring chance. But Gallo’s two takedowns ended the threat and fans turned up the volume on the boos.
Gallo received a redemptive third shot in the seventh against former Yankees prospect Garrett Whitlock. With the Yankees leading 4-3, Gallo took the lead in the count on two straight hits. But he came empty on three consecutive swings, each drawing an increasing amount of teasing. His last puff on a Whitlock change caused the loudest boos of the night.
Still, manager Aaron Boone said he had seen signs there was hope for Gallo.
“Really good couple at bats [Thursday] night he worked in a close game – nobody ever mentioned those,” Boone said of Gallo, whose average dropped to .161 and whose on-base percentage dropped to .286. “He squeaks. It’s a challenge. It was a struggle no doubt.
“He’s had some good batsmen along the way here, I feel like over the last week or 10 days [but] doesn’t have much traction with hits.
Gallo largely played through the struggles, in part because injuries cropped up around him. More recently, Aaron Hicks was bumped, but Hicks hit Kyle Higashioka in the seventh inning, then was substituted in left field to replace Gallo.
While Hicks is ready to play regularly on the pitch, Gallo may need to get used to the bench more, especially as Matt Carpenter continues to shine. Carpenter, also a left-handed hitter who can play in the outfield, went 2-for-3 Friday with a double and a hit per pitch. He plays an important role in the team and serves as a potential replacement for Gallo.
Gallo, the disappointing acquisition on time, found other ways to contribute in spurts. His strong arm from left field kept JD Martinez from moving up from third in the first inning.
But the ensuing crowd cheers were the only ones Gallo heard on Friday night.
“I just have to keep fighting,” Boone said.