The New York Yankees, gifted a rare postseason day game on Friday after Rob Manfred’s wonky schedule and a rainout Thursday forced them into it, faced a tall task against Guardians ace Shane Bieber.
Within a two-pitch span in the bottom of the first inning, the afternoon Yankees felt the umpire’s wrath and responded to it, flipping the narrative quickly.
With two outs and none on, Gleyber Torres smacked a single to right on a two-strike half swing, and Giancarlo Stanton took a 3-1 pitch low to apparently walk to first. Not according to home plate umpire Jeremie Rehak, though, who sent Stanton back to the box.
Strike 2 to Stanton was as bad as it looked on MLB’s computer graphics. High-80s, well below the zone, the kind of strike call that’ll make a chase-prone hitter like Stanton completely reevaluate his zone for the rest of the game.
And yet … on the very next pitch … Stanton reevaluated a Bieber pitch to the opposite field for a two-run home run to completely change the complexion of the first inning.
Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton crushes 2-run shot off Shane Bieber after bad call by umpire Jeremie Rehak
If Stanton’s going to respond to every bad call he encounters with a home run and a strut, then we fully encourage the continued plate-stretching by Rehak.
Stanton going to the opposite field is a beautiful thing, especially when he knows he can confidently clear the wall in this particular ballpark.
The Yankees’ DH is the master of lasers to left and fly balls that simply never stop going to right, sending outfielder after outfielder into the wall looking up at something they’ll never have. His first-inning shot was another excellent example.
There’s plenty more work to do elevating Bieber’s pitch count and punishing his mistakes on Friday. Thanks to the rainout, this will be his only start — though he could always come in for an inning or two of relief.
Rehak tried to help the All-Star out in his first ever appearance at Yankee Stadium. But, in the end, he only made Stanton angrier.