New York Yankees

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 09: Anthony Rizzo #48 of the New York Yankees hits a two-run home run during the bottom of the fourth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on April 09, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

If the Yankees-Red Sox opening series to the 2022 season is any indication, we are in for some drag-em-out slugfests between these two old rivals. The Yankees took two-of-three from Boston, winning the first two games by the counts of: 6-5 in extras on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday, before falling to Boston 4-3 on Sunday.

While a lot of attention was directed at Aaron Judge’s stalled contract talks heading into the weekend series, by series end the talk was more about about the scintillating starts for Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton.

Rizzo went unsigned as a free agent until days after the lockout ended last month, as the Bombers were exploring their options with another free agent first baseman, Freddie Freeman. When it became obvious that Freeman was heading to LA, the Yankees pivoted back to Rizzo, and they have to be glad he is back in pinstripes.

Over the three games, Rizzo hit .300 with an OPS of 1.400, two home runs and six RBI. His two-run double in the fourth inning on Sunday night brought home Isiah-Kiner Falefa and Jose Trevino to tie the game at three. Eventually Boston would win it thanks to Bobby Dalbac’s solo shot in the sixth inning.

The fast start to 2022 for Rizzo feels very similar to his start with the Yankees after he was acquired via trade with the Chicago Cubs. At the time of the deal, Rizzo cracked three homers and drove in six in his first six games as a Yankee. He saw his batting average leap nine points during that hot stretch, and was a big part in getting last season’s Yankees back on track.

Now the Yankees have him for 162, and they are a better team for it.

In addition, Giancarlo Stanton is off to a sizzling start. He had three hits and an RBI on Sunday, and is batting .385 with a pair of homers and four RBI to start the season.  That is huge for Stanton, who has been known for cold starts to a season.

More importantly, the Yankees bullpen has been tremendous. In three games against Boston’s prolific lineup, the Yankees pen gave up only two earned runs in 18.2 innings of work, or a combined ERA of 0.96.

The Yankees turn their attention to Monday night and a huge four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, a team many project could win the AL East this season.

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