The New York Yankees carry a .500 record at 7-7. Both their Saturday and Sunday games against the Detroit Tigers were postponed.
At first glance, it’s almost astonishing the Yankees are only 7-7, sitting still at third place in the AL East.
After what looked like a sure-fire series sweep ended in a 2-2 tie against the Toronto Blue Jays, things started to look strange. The Yankees would go on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays, lose three of four games to the Baltimore Orioles, and end the series with the Boston Red Sox 1-2.
One of the most apparent problems in this wild stretch is how inefficient Giancarlo Stanton has been. As painful as it is to say, his performances have been underwhelming, and it’s equally difficult to overlook just how poorly he’s playing.
Stanton has failed to record a hit in seven out of fourteen played. Only four of those games have resulted in wins, in large part because of the hitting that his surrounding teammates have provided. In those seven games, Stanton had 27 total at bats, including seven in one game that went to extra innings.
He’s collected 25 strikeouts in only 14 game while boasting a .220 batting average and he’s continuing on a consistent, downward trend.
Though it’s early, his OBP and SLG are at career-lows (.303 and .458 respectively).
What’s gone wrong?
What makes Stanton’s struggles so worrisome is his status as a seasoned veteran. All athletes have met their match at some point, but typically this comes through the early years.
Stanton is in his ninth season as a pro-baller and hasn’t yet met the expectations Yankees fans had in place.
This seems to be boiling down to home runs, much like Aaron Judge’s rookie season woes came about.
As we all know, Stanton brought the Miami Marlins 59 home runs last season, striking out 163 times. Meanwhile, at the rate he’s going this season, Stanton will have half as many homers, and nearly double the amount of strikeouts. It’s likely impossible for him to end up being that terrible, but you get my point.
Nonetheless, I feel the lust for home runs is responsible for Stanton having as much difficulty as he’s had.
There’s an unfair amout of pressure placed on players by all fans, and with the hype of another 59 homerun season in our midst, there’s bound to be some inner conflict at the plate. Stanton seems to have it drilled in his brain that he needs to blast the ball into the stands to make the fans happy, when in reality, all it takes is getting on base and shifting the tides of offense in the Yankees’ favor.
The harsh reality is, Yankees fans don’t take it easy on their team and they’ll let you know. The choir of boos Stanton has heard on nights he’s struck out is intimidating, and though Stanton is a vet, he’s also human, and no one likes to be booed.
The Yankees are scheduled to play the Miami Marlins on Monday at 6:35 PM, with the hopes of turning the season around before it gets too far out of hand. With the rival New York Mets off to a hot start, tensions are building and expectations are mounting for the Yankees. They have a lot of pressure on them, so only time will tell how they respond, including Stanton.