Yankees must ban Giancarlo Stanton from cleanup spot after home opener stinker

New York Yankees v Arizona Diamondbacks
New York Yankees v Arizona Diamondbacks / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Entering the home opener 6-1 after a spectacular road trip through Houston and Arizona, it would've taken a special kind of stink bomb to erase even a portion of the phenomenal vibes the 2024 Yankees returned home riding.

As has been this franchise's nature for the past decade, they delivered a performance smellier even than the ones you had nightmares about in recent days.

The morning began with the announcement that Jonathan Loaisiga had suffered an elbow injury, and would immediately be placed on the 60-Day IL. "Who will throw the seventh inning of a close game today?" you wondered. "It doesn't much matter; everyone in the bullpen seems to dominate," you stated, bathed in your innocence.

There were plenty of goats in the final three frames of this contest -- this was a brilliant scoreless game entering the seventh, thanks to Marcus Stroman! Caleb Ferguson came in for the seventh and immediately got tagged for a tiebreaking Ernie Clement home run. Jose Trevino was allowed to bat for himself in the eighth, struck out, then was unable to block three separate pitches that either squirted or rocketed away in the top of the ninth. Aaron Boone tried to steal outs from newcomer Dennis Santana on 35+ pitches, then brought in newcomer Nick Burdi with the bags packed; his control deserted him immediately.

The final three innings of this one were "Bad News Bears"-ish enough to elicit a series of soft boos as the deficit swelled. But the true culprit was the Yankees' revamped offense, unable to touch Yusei Kikuchi after the mid-tier lefty was served to them on a silver platter in front of a hungry crowd. Juan Soto was held hitless, sure. Aaron Judge looked to be in preseason form, absolutely. But they're going to be penciled into the two-three holes regardless; there was precious little managing to be done there.

Yankees fans blame Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Trevino, Aaron Boone for Home Opener stinker

What, exactly, was Giancarlo Stanton doing in the cleanup spot, though? New-look G dropped a significant amount of muscle this offseason and supposedly revamped his swing/approach, but Friday's game didn't show any evidence of that. Even in 2023, when Stanton was sliding down the relevance scale, he could at least hit lefties, posting a .942 OPS in 68 at-bats. If he's going to look as whiff-prone and off-kilter as he looked on Friday afternoon, he cannot be allowed to protect Judge any longer. If Jasson Dominguez returns healthy, he probably cannot be allowed back in the lineup whatsoever.

Stanton's two strikeouts in his crucial first two at-bats led to the Yankees' first shutout in a home opener since 1967. Hopefully, Soto's takeaway from this contest was the warm welcome he received, not the cold shoulder he probably gave to his cleanup hitter in the postgame locker room.

It's not Stanton's fault. He's too far gone. Blame the man who placed him there.