The booing was so loud and so constant at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, if you didn’t know the Astros were in town, you’d think, “What did Giancarlo Stanton do now?”
But instead of being on the receiving end of Yankees fans’ ire, Stanton has emerged as a favorite of late — thanks to a 10-game hitting streak that seemingly came out of nowhere.
And not only is Stanton getting on base at a high clip, he’s delivering the same blistering shots that light up Statcast.
After his first four-hit game of the season in Tuesday’s victory, Stanton now has at least three hits in four of his past five games.
During his hitting streak, Stanton is 21-for-44 (.477) with nine runs, four homers, three doubles, six RBIs, a walk and seven strikeouts, to go along with an OPS of 1.307.
It’s a dramatic turnaround from his first 15 games of the season, when Stanton — who’d hoped to continue the success he had during the postseason — was a mess at the plate.
In that early stretch, despite hitting the ball hard, Stanton had little to show for it. He was 9-for-57 (.158) with three homers, a double, six walks and a whopping 21 strikeouts. His OPS was .571.
“He hits the crap out of the ball every time right now,” DJ LeMahieu said.
For the season, Stanton is averaging an exit velocity of 98.8 mph, the highest of his career (which had been 96.1 mph in 2015, the first year the stat was measured). It’s also the highest in the majors, with Aaron Judge second at 97.7 mph.
According to Stanton, there’s been no major adjustment at the plate. He’s repeatedly said it’s more about finding a plan and sticking to it, rather than changing something in his stance or approach every few days.
The hitting streak also directly coincides with Aaron Boone inserting Stanton in the two-hole in the order. That’s certainly at least mostly a coincidence, but don’t expect to see it changing back anytime soon.
Stanton’s explanation for his recent production was fairly simple following Tuesday’s win.
“I feel good,” Stanton said. “I’ll keep working off it. I like where I’m at. I’m squaring up what I need to square up. Just got to keep it rolling.”
He also had perhaps the biggest hit of the night with his two-run homer in the bottom of the first after the Astros took the lead in the top of the inning — which had briefly muffled the boisterous crowd that ended up being merciless toward the Astros all night long.
“It was huge,” Stanton said of being able to get the Yankees ahead and not allowing the Astros to take the fans out of the game by extending their lead.
In last year’s postseason, when Stanton hit six homers in seven games, it was easy to see the impact he had on a lineup. His recent breakout has had a similar effect on the team, which is 7-3 during Stanton’s hitting streak and scored at least seven runs in three of the past five games in which he’s been in the lineup.
“We weren’t gonna play like [we did in] the beginning of the season forever,” Stanton said of the struggles both he and the rest of the offense faced through much of April.
“Just coming out of that, building off each other’s good at-bats, good games,” he added. “You can’t catch up in one at-bat, one game. You’ve got to stack them together.”