DETROIT — Everyone can agree Joey Gallo had a rough start to his Yankees tenure.
Where opinions differ is what can be done to rectify the slugger’s struggles. So far, the Yankees have no answers.
While they’ve pointed to Gallo’s advanced metrics, the actual results have been so abysmal since the left fielder arrived from Texas last July they’re impossible to ignore.
And as for the Yankees’ hope that Gallo would be more comfortable in the spotlight now that he’s had time to adjust, that hasn’t happened.
He entered Wednesday just 1-for-20 with two walks and 10 strikeouts in his previous seven games.
On the season, Gallo is 4-for-33 and is coming off a game against the Tigers on Tuesday in which he struck out in all four at-bats. He is still looking for his first extra-base hit and only Kansas City’s Carlos Santana has a lower slugging percentage than Gallo’s .121.
One scout that saw him in Baltimore said it looked like the streaky Gallo was going through a typical down stretch, but noted those are often followed by a week or so of tremendous production.
“I haven’t seen one of those from him in a while,” the scout said.
The factors, according to the scout, are the fact that Gallo is likely pressing after another poor start with the Yankees, as well as even more effective shifting that has robbed him of hits with even greater frequency.
Shifting aside, the lack of extra-base hits has to be especially concerning for both the Yankees and Gallo, who will be a free agent after this season.
His strikeout rate — always sky-high — is 38.5 percent this season, the worst of his career.
And as far as advanced metrics go, Gallo is swinging at more pitches out of the zone than he has since 2018, according to Statcast.
He’s also seeing fewer fastballs and more sliders and changeups than ever before and his launch angle has plummeted, which is one of the reasons his power numbers are down.
Under new hitting coach Dillon Lawson, the Yankees are trying to be more aggressive at the plate rather than waiting for a perfect pitch to hit. That’s resulted in Gallo swinging at more first pitches.
When the Yankees recalled Tim Locastro from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre over the weekend, there was some thought that the speedy outfielder might take some time away from Gallo, but Aaron Boone said that was not the case.
The righty-swinging Locastro has not proven to be able to hit major league pitching. He started Sunday in Baltimore against a left-hander, Bruce Zimmerman, with Gallo pinch-hitting later in the game.
But Gallo was in the lineup on Tuesday in Detroit, when the Yankees faced another lefty, Tyler Alexander.
At this point, though, Gallo hasn’t shown an ability to produce against anyone.
Back in November, general manager Brian Cashman said Gallo “didn’t play as well as he’s capable of playing” during his three-month stint in The Bronx following the trade.
He expressed optimism that more familiarity with his surroundings and impending free agency would spur a bounce-back season and he wasn’t considering moving Gallo.
“I don’t want to say there’s a concern. I think you’re gonna see a much better version of him, but that’s not saying much. He hit .190 with us,” Cashman said of Gallo, who actually hit just .160 in 58 games. “He struggled by his admission … and fact. But he’s a threat every time up at the plate and I would bet we’ll see a much improved version of him next year for us. I feel very confident in saying that because he’s that talented.”
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