Fans of The Flash know the superhero’s secret identity is Barry Allen.
After what has transpired in The Bronx these last few days, the question must be asked:
Any relation to Greg?
The COVID-ravaged Yankees have themselves a most unlikely protagonist to save their season, and all it took to get him here was a call to their Hall of Justice outpost in Scranton. Allen’s speed again played an integral role in vaulting the Yankees to their third straight victory, 6-4 over Joe Girardi’s Phillies, Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
“I just try to do what I can to make an impact and help the team win,” Allen said.
“I love what he’s brought,” Aaron Boone said.
Much more work must be done to lift the Yankees (49-44) out of the hole they have dug for themselves, and a look at the 28-year-old Allen’s track record — not to mention old-fashioned common sense — deems it unreasonable to expect Allen to continue at his .500/.583/.875 pace, with five runs scored and a couple of stolen bases in three starts, with which he has begun his pinstriped run.
Yet by providing a burst of energy at a time of crisis, firing up the Yankees and their fans, the outfielder should secure a spot on this roster even if all of the COVID casualties return. He instantly has become the antidote to so much that plagued the Yankees, starting with an alarming lack of athleticism.
Greg Allen runs to third on a triple during the third inning of the Yankees’ 6-4 win over the Phillies.N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg
“He’s done an amazing job for us, and his addition to the team has definitely brought more speed as well,” Gary Sanchez, who slugged one of four Yankees home runs, said through an interpreter. “He’s done a little bit of everything.”
This game can serve as his Exhibit A. With the Yankees trailing 1-0, Allen led off the third with a shot off the right-field wall, over a leaping Bryce Harper, that he legged into a triple as the ball rolled back toward the infield. A groundout to first base by rookie Estevan Florial plated Allen to knot the game at 1-1.
After the Phillies retook a one-run lead, Allen led off the fifth with a walk against Phillies starter Aaron Nola, stole second base and advanced to third on Floria’s fly out to center field, a sequence of beauty to this club’s observers unaccustomed to such grace. Then, the pièce de résistance: With the Phillies infield drawn in, Tyler Wade sent a bullet right into the glove of old pal Didi Gregorius — who saw a chance to double up Allen at third. Except Gregorius’ relay to old pal Ronald Torreyes went too far to the outfield side, allowing Allen to motor home with the tying run.
Moments later, Brett Gardner — whose February return to the Yankees prompted the club to designate Allen for assignment — launched a solo homer to right-center field, giving the Yankees a lead they wouldn’t relinquish and burnished with solo blasts from Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Florial, his first big-league homer.
Given Gardner’s 2021 struggles, would the Yankees have been better off just replacing him with Allen, whom they acquired from the Padres in a January trade? It’s a fair question. Then again, not a single club put in a waiver claim on Allen, who owns a career slash line of .242/.304/.350 in 225 major league games, when the Yankees DFA’d him in February, which allowed Brian Cashman to outright him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Probably best to punt on such questions and enjoy this ride. And as much as this game highlighted the value of speed, it also underlined the difficulty of manufacturing a run — after all, Allen’s second trip home required that Gregorius miscue — as opposed to the immediate impact of home runs, the Yankees’ quartet of round-trippers providing cover for multiple shaky relievers.
Can Allen’s different look spark the Yankees to something greater? Can he help them maintain their inner John McClane in “Die Hard,” finding strength in their underdog status?
They have so many miles to go before they can sleep. Yet thanks in no small part to Allen, these guys are no longer putting you to sleep.