Yankees: It’s time for Giancarlo Stanton to come up big
Giancarlo Stanton may have had his ups and downs throughout the year; however, as he readies for his first Postseason with the Yankees, all will be forgiven if he delivers in the clutch.
With the small dimensions of Yankee Stadium, fans were expecting the superhero, Giancarlo Stanton, to play home run derby for the duration of his inaugural year in the Bronx. Coming off an NL MVP campaign that saw him hit 59 homers while slugging .631– the 2018 Yankees version of Stanton ended the year with “only” 38 home runs, while striking out a career-high 211 times.
Stanton slugged 100+ points lower and had a drop off from 7.6 to 4.0 in wins above replacement (WAR). The Yankee faithful showered Stanton plenty times with boos throughout the year, but all can be forgiven if he comes up big in his first Postseason appearance.
The Yanks will square off in the win-or-go-home Wild Card game versus the surprise Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night. Right-hander Luis Severino will start against reliever Liam Hendriks.
With much of the power on the Yankees coming from right-handed hitters like Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Andrew McCutchen and Luke Voit, it was expected the A’s would start a right-handed pitcher.
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On the year, Stanton has slashed .249/.328/.465 against righties. However, he has struggled over the past 30 days batting only .222 with only five homers and 16 RBIs in 90 at-bats.
Surprisingly enough, Stanton has not hit well at Yankee Stadium, slashing only .229/.311/.468 (conversely, he’s hit .300 on the road).
The key for Stanton in the Wild Card game — and throughout the playoffs, should the Yankees advance is getting ahead in the count. At a 1-0 count, he’s hitting .327. But at counts 2-0, 2-1, and 3-0, Stanton is an absolute beast, batting .588, .588, and .571, respectively.
His power numbers are almost 150+ points higher when he’s in a hitter-friendly count. Stanton must put himself in a position where he can extend his arms and generate more power in his swing. More importantly, he needs to avoid chasing pitches outside the zone.
October baseball is where the stars are bone. The Yankees traded explicitly for Stanton to deliver in the clutch and now is his time to shine. Does Stanton elevate himself similar to Yankee playoff legends like Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter and Scott Brosius — or does go out with a whimper? We’ll find out on Wednesday night.