Being an avid watcher of the New York Yankees is extremely entertaining. Unlike any other team in baseball, they have players which often make you question your understanding of baseball. It seems almost routine this year that you see something on the field you never expected you would. Between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, every day can give you an all-time highlight.
This past weekend against the Red Sox, Giancarlo Stanton did exactly that. He uncorked one of those low line drives that you could have sworn was a liner straight to an outfielder, but had copious amounts of backspin and kept cutting through the air till it made its way over the fence.
Because of how flat Stanton can keep his swing, he can generate line drive home runs unlike any other hitter I’ve ever seen. His approach angle might be the lowest in baseball among any hitter who is a prolific home run hitter. In fact, it’s probably the lowest for any decent home run hitter. Anyways, let’s jump into his at-bat against Pivetta.
It was only three pitches, but it’s magnificent, nonetheless. Any at-bat which has an 80-grade swing is more than deserved of being the at-bat of the week.
Stanton is notorious for waiting for his pitch. In that sense, he reminds me of the former Red Sox slugger, Manny Ramírez. Manny was well-known for his patience throughout an entire game. He would take pitches and even get out if it meant him waiting for his pitch. Hitters know that pitchers will throw a specific pitch at some point. Stanton is sometimes very successful with that strategy. Think of his at-bats against Liam Hendriks last year. He sat on his pitch and didn’t let it go by him.
This check was much more go mode. He was geared up for a fastball the entire way. The mindset is always yes yes yes with Stanton when he is anticipating his pitch. After Pivetta missed his spot on the first pitch, Stanton thought he would go to the fastball. Pivetta instead spotted a curveball on the black of the plate.
Stanton was timed for a fastball though, so he took the pitch despite the aggression. Heading into a 2-0 count, he is in the driver’s seat. If you don’t remember, Stanton already took Pivetta deep back in April. A 2-0 count is a pretty sticky situation for him. Pivetta was put in a corner of trying to attack Stanton while behind in the count. There was only one runner on base, so confronting Stanton had a worst-case scenario of only two runs.
The thing about attacking great hitters down in the count is you can’t just lay it over the middle of the plate. You must compete with each and every pitch. Behind in the count, ahead in the count, it doesn’t matter. You cannot get beat so easily. Stanton’s approach was clear from the first pitch. He was going to wait as long as he needed to for a fastball. Pivetta isn’t in a position to let it go like this with a fastball against a player who can rip off 115 mph line drives. All credit here to Stanton for simply being the better player. Against the Red Sox, he has almost always been the best player on the field, and it’s been a pleasure to watch for the last few seasons.