Last week’s installment of the missed at-bat of the week gave us a game from May 10th against the Toronto Blue Jays when DJ LeMahieu came back in an at-bat after a few late swings to lace a double off the left field wall. You may recall there were a few other special at-bats that happened in that game from the New York Yankees. The one that will jump to the front of your mind would be Aaron Judge’s three-run, walk-off home run against Jordan Romano that sailed high and far over the left field wall. But there was another three-run home run in the sixth inning that got the run scoring going for the Yankees, and it came from the hands and barrel of Giancarlo Stanton.
At the time, Stanton had been on a tear. To start the year, he looked incredible and perhaps primed for his best season in pinstripes. This at-bat is a perfect representation of how when Stanton is at his best, he can take any pitch out of the yard. His unique flat swing lets him make deep contact and still hit the ball in the air to the opposite field. If you miss up and away, it’s a perfect opportunity for him to take advantage of his seemingly tree chop swing. Okay, now with that nerdy banter out of the way, let’s jump into the game tying at-bat.
This is a high quality sinker at the bottom of the zone to start the at-bat. Yimi Garcia was looking for a groundball and an inning-ending double play, but Stanton made the right decision to let this bowling ball sinker pass him by for a strike. The goal here is to get the barrel on the ball, and with Stanton’s swing, this isn’t an ideal pitch to do so. Good approach to start the at-bat. 0-1 count.
This is a super nasty pitch. It’s not one of the misleading pitches that you see because of a bad camera angle either. This truly is a running fastball with plenty of induced horizontal break. It ran a bit too much for Stanton to consider swinging, but it was nasty nonetheless. That’s the double edged sword of throwing pitches with so much movement. They really need to start in the right place to fool a hitter. This one barely made Stanton flinch. The outcome is a 1-1 count.
That’s a great adjustment from Garcia. He threw the same exact pitch that started in an area that would get Stanton’s eyes to light up. It’s an interesting pitch because you don’t typically see swings and misses on sinkers down in the zone. This is more of a barrel suppressor that missed, but has so much run that it misses the bat entirely of a hitter who swings with such a flat bat path. Garcia gave himself the upper hand in the at-bat because of it. 1-2 count.
I’m typically not a fan of the “throw the same pitch over and over again approach against great hitters” approach, but it’s understandable why he would go back to this pitch. Stanton whiffed on it in the previous one and if he could execute it again, the worst case is a ground ball into the ground. But like a great hitter would, Stanton took it and got an even 2-2 count. Great take from a well disciplined hitter.
The slider was the right choice, but not in that area of the zone! I gave it away before jumping into the at-bat, but a breaking ball in this zone is the perfect pitch for Stanton to destroy to right field. This may have only been a wall scraper, but it counts the same as a 500 foot homer. I was at this game, and the stadium was shaking. I miss these moments. 2023 will have more, and I hope Stanton finds the health he needs to make this happen on a regular basis.