Yankees vs Red Sox live updates: AL wild-card game news, start time, channel as rivals look to advance in MLB postseason
First baseman Anthony Rizzo is leading off for the Yankees Tuesday night, a first for him in his brief Yankee career and something he's done in just 66 games in 11-year career (1,406 games).
“I love it. I love it. I’ve never done it in the postseason, but I’m excited. I’ll be ready to go. Set the tone. Get the first opportunity in the 2021 playoffs to do something special," he said pregame. “My goal is not to let (Nathan) Eovaldi settle in whatsoever, so to be aggressive. He’s an aggressive pitcher in the strike zone and I’m sure he’s gonna come out firing today with the adrenaline and everything, but it’ll be exciting."
Rizzo did lead off for the Cubs in five games this year, going 6-for-23 with an RBI and a strikeout. For his career, Rizzo has led off in 66 games, slashing .321/.407/.554 with 14 home runs, 38 RBIs, 29 walks and 32 strikeouts.
"Boonie just let me know and said I’m in. Doesn’t matter where you hit this time of the year ... it’s about winning and playing for the 25 other guys on your team, playing for your staff and your city and your fans," he said. "The personal stuff right now is nothing. Leading off, I’ve enjoyed it when I do it, and it won’t be any different today."
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he and the staff considered going with Gleyber Torres as the lead-off man again, but ultimately wanted Rizzo up there.
"Really just valuing Gleyber in the middle of the order with our guys and wanting Rizz and Judgey and Stanton up there as much as possible, and Gallo. And just having Gleyber in the middle, feel like those are the guys that get on base, hopefully there’s opportunities for him, and he’s a guy I definitely want up with some runners on base, so that was just the decision to go with him," Boone said.
Rizzo's former teammate and good friend Kyle Schwarber is also leading off for the Red Sox.
“Schwarber leading off, too," said Rizzo, who is batting .249 and slugging .428 with seven doubles and eight homers in 49 games as a Yankee. "Talked to him earlier today. It’s pretty cool coming full circle playing against a really good friend leading off as well. Not your prototypical leadoff hitters, but he’s excited about it, too.”