Longtime readers of Pinstripe Alley know that I’m a big fan of Giancarlo Stanton. I love Stanton; he’s on my short list of all-time favorite players. It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote a story defending the trade that brought the slugger to the Bronx. That said, we have to talk about his terrible game last night.
In Game One of the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox, Stanton went 1-for-5 with four strikeouts. That included a wholly noncompetitive plate appearance against Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning. The All-Star closer disposed of Stanton on three pitches. Stanton, for his part, didn’t swing the bat once.
The first pitch, a breaking ball in the lower quadrant, probably wasn’t hittable. The 0-1 pitch, however, a 99 mph fastball over the plate, proved a key chance to do damage. Stanton, however, didn’t swing his bat. The ball went right down the middle, and Stanton absolutely has the bat speed to catch up to that pitch. I’m not sure what he was looking for. Whatever it was, he never found it.
That wasn’t Stanton’s only strikeout, either. He struggled to make contact all night long. It didn’t matter the pitcher or situation; he just whiffed.
For his part, the Yankees designated hitter owned up to the disappointing evening. “Had a big at-bat to help get us back in it. I wasn’t able to capitalize on it,” Stanton explained to Coley Harvey of ESPN. “I wasn’t able to get the job done. I should’ve put the ball in play.”
Stanton, 28, hit .266/.343/.509 with 38 home runs in 2018. His 127 wRC+ was fine by normal standards, but it fell well short of the lofty expectations placed on Stanton. Even with a rather pedestrian triple-slash, though, he played a critical role in sending the Yankees’ to the playoffs in the first place.
Now that the Yankees are in the ALDS, however, they need Stanton to be more than pedestrian. The team needs his power to move beyond the Red Sox. Perhaps the first step towards doing that is swinging the bat. Who knows? It could be helpful!
What did you think about Stanton’s plate appearances yesterday? Have any suggestions? Or just want to vent about it? Feel free to do so in the comment section below!