Fans at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night chanted Joey Gallo’s name and didn’t put an expletive before or after it.
It was a pleasant change from his two seasons in New York, where the two-time All-Star was so unproductive and taunted so often that he holed himself up in his Manhattan apartment to keep his face from showing on the street and from his Deficiencies heard without a doubt.
Gallo’s teammates also chanted his name on Wednesday, and for many happy reasons. Not only did they rejoice in the narrow three-run home run that gave them a lead even Craig Kimbrel couldn’t squander, but they also enjoyed the sight of Gallo shaking off his fear as he circled the bases in the seventh inning of what became her 10th Consecutive win, an 8-5 win over the Minnesota Twins.
“I think the whole team breathed a sigh of relief for him right there,” said third baseman Max Muncy after Gallo hit his first home run and first runs as a dodger. “Hopefully we can get him running more. It’s a fun guy to watch him throw balls, so that was good.”
Gallo, who was acquired by the Yankees for minor league pitcher Clayton Beeter last week, had three hits in his first 14 at-bats as a dodger. Anemic as his .214 batting average was, he was better than the .159 batting average (with 106 strikeouts) he had in 233 at-bats with the Yankees.
The 28-year-old Nevada native didn’t turn things around immediately. But on a team as strong as the Dodgers, he didn’t need to be promoted immediately. He felt no pressure to carry a team that has won 10 straight games by multiple runs. “I haven’t lost a game yet,” he said almost in awe as he stood in front of his locker on Wednesday night. “I thought we would win a lot in New York. We’re winning a lot here, especially lately.”
He’s had the luxury and time to work on his swing as part of a plan designed to help him recapture the elements that contributed to his two 40-run home seasons for Texas. Best-case scenario, he’d give some Dodgers regulars a break and do occasional magic off the bench. If his struggles continued and the experiment didn’t work, the Dodgers wouldn’t have lost much.
“From the first day I got here they said it’s not about instant results, it’s just about the process and getting back to the player that I know I can be.”
– Dodgers outfielder Joey Gallo
His hard-hitting double on Tuesday and his home run on Wednesday after a 97-mile fastball by Minnesota right-hander Griffin Jax with a 1-and-2 count are reasons to think Gallo could regain his confidence. And the Dodgers may have been given a useful option as they assemble a roster that will allow them to follow up on a spectacularly successful regular season with a World Series championship.
“I think it’s just the work we’ve done with the batting coaches,” Gallo said of his success in the last two games. “From the first day I got here they said it’s not about instant results, it’s just about the process and getting back to being the player I know I can be. It was great. It was relaxing. You are really smart. I look forward to continuing to work with them.”
He made as many adjustments in his head as he did in the batter’s box.
“I think baseball is definitely a mental game,” he said. “It’s nice to have a fresh start somewhere. Some nice weather. be on the beach That’s always nice too. A great environment and a great group of guys. And some mechanical stuff that we’ve been working on with the coaches.”
He said he knew he’d hit Alberto for Hanser if the twins brought in a right-hander, so he was prepared when Minnesota’s Will Smith footed on purpose to put him down with Trea Turner in second after a double meeting. “Only here we go. Let’s see what happens here,” he said. “Turned out favorably for me, so it was exciting.”
Manager Dave Roberts was just as happy for him as were the teammates who greeted him with high and low fives and the fans who chanted his name in appreciation.
“I was just happy to give him a chance,” Roberts said. “He’s prepared. He bought himself. And for me as a manager, that’s what makes me very happy when 26 players simply buy in.
“He didn’t start tonight but came off the bench ready. I believe the game does you justice and today he was ready when called and he came through. He made us all look good.”
Gallo said he doesn’t need a change of scenery but has clearly benefited from the move west.
“I think it was good for both sides just because it was the best opportunity for me and for them,” he said. “So I don’t have any hard feelings about it. I didn’t do my job to the best of my ability. But it’s always nice to have a fresh start. Just like a new relationship. It’s nice. Like I said, good weather, good squad, can’t complain.”
He’s glad he was able to grow his beard back — the Yankees don’t allow players to have facial hair — and he’s content living near the ocean.
“Nothing against New York, but I lived in a small apartment for the same price,” he said. “So it’s pretty nice to be on the beach and have some waves and some sand and people walking around in flip flops and stuff like that. Yes, it’s definitely a bit more relaxed environment and that’s just the difference between different cities in general. I think it fits well.”
Roberts said Gallo won’t be in the lineup Friday in Kansas City as left-hander Daniel Lynch is scheduled to start, but he said Gallo will play right-handers Saturday and Sunday and the rest of the way. Gallo is ready to play whenever needed.
“It’s an exciting team to be a part of,” he said after adding to that excitement with a home run and renewed hope of rekindling his career.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-08-11/joey-gallo-change-in-scenery-good-for-him-and-dodgers Joey Gallo finds change in scenery good for him and Dodgers