Giancarlo Stanton Tees Off on the Athletics, and the Yankees Win Again

Yankees fans have been wondering what the hold-up has been with Giancarlo Stanton. Why hasn’t he consistently done in pinstripes what he did last season for the Marlins — which resulted in a Most Valuable Player Award?

After waiting another three hours through a rain delay on Sunday, that thing they were yearning for seemed to arrive.

In the Yankees’ 6-2 win over the Oakland Athletics, Stanton gave them that glimpse, as well as a glimmer of hope that despite his slow start, he might still be able to put up the kind of numbers in the Bronx that he had in South Beach.

“Whether he goes and gets hot this week, I don’t know,” Manager Aaron Boone said. “But I don’t worry about it. Without predicting anything, one thing I’ll predict is that in the end, it’ll be massive production.”

After a rainstorm delayed the start of the Yankees’ game against the Oakland Athletics by nearly three hours, it took a matter of minutes for Stanton to begin producing — four hits, including a home run and a double, and three runs batted in.

And now, with 40 games, or roughly 25 percent of the season, in the books, Stanton’s statistics are nearly identical to where they were at this point last season.

“It was a good day,” he said. “Made some firewood but also got some good hits and was able to help us win.”

The firewood line was in reference to his first-inning single, a grounder clocked at 117 miles per hour that drove in the first two Yankees runs, and his seventh-inning double — both splintered his pink Mother’s Day bats.

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Luis Severino improved to 6-1 by allowing just one run in six innings.CreditKathy Willens/Associated Press

But the lumber remained intact on his third-inning single and his fifth-inning home run, a solo shot into the Yankees bullpen off Oakland starter Brett Anderson.

It was Stanton’s second four-hit game of the season — he had one against the Minnesota Twins at home on April 23 — but still, a rather uncommon display of offensive prowess in his new home ballpark, where he had batted .195 in his previous 24 home games. Yankee Stadium was the site of 35 of his co-league-leading 55 strikeouts this season.

Stanton acknowledged that he has not fully adapted to his new surroundings. “It’s getting there,” he said. “Everything’s still new. But there’s still no excuses or anything for that.”

But for all his struggles this season, Stanton’s production at this point in 2018 is close to what it was at the same point a year ago. After 40 games last season, Stanton was batting .263 for the Marlins with 11 home runs, 27 runs batted in and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .872. After 40 games this season, Stanton is batting .252 with an .855 OPS, 10 home runs and 26 R.B.I.

And throughout his career, Stanton has always posted his worst numbers of the season in April.

But where Stanton has really excelled this season in comparison with previous seasons has been against left-handed pitching. Through his first eight seasons, the right-handed hitting Stanton displayed what would be considered “normal” splits; he batted .258 against righties and .298 against lefties. But this season, the numbers are way out of whack; Stanton is hitting just .192 against right-handers but .457 (16 hits in 35 at-bats) against lefties. In addition, seven of his 10 home runs have come off left-handers, like Anderson, who now has an 0-6 record and 6.86 E.R.A. in eight career starts against the Yankees.

“I’m always going to be more comfortable against lefties,” Stanton said. “As a right-handed hitter, I’m naturally supposed to hit better against lefties but as to why I’m hitting them so well, I don’t have a theory right now.”

Stanton’s production at the plate staked Yankees starter Luis Severino to a welcome cushion on a day that remained gray and raw after the rainstorm ended. Severino (6-1, 2.14) worked six innings, allowing five hits and one run, striking out seven. And seven of Stanton’s home runs this season have come in games Severino has started.

“We work well together,” Stanton said.

Severino was followed by Chad Green and Dellin Betances, each of whom pitched a hitless inning, and Chasen Shreve, who allowed a ninth-inning solo home run to Mark Canha. The Yankees completed a 7-2 homestand, winning their 10th game out of the last 12 and remaining in a first-place tie with the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.

The day belonged to Stanton, who gave Yankees fans some of what they expected.

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