If there was ever any doubt about whether Giancarlo Stanton will be able to stand up to the pressures of playing in New York, it was erased on Thursday. Stanton immediately made his presence felt as a member of the Yankees, crushing an opposite-field home run on the second pitch he saw from Blue Jays’ starter JA Happ.
Stanton struck again in the fifth inning with a double to the Blue Jays left fielder that scored Aaron Judge. In the ninth inning, Stanton went deep again. This time, a solo shot off of former Yankee Tyler Clippard.
Stanton finished yesterday’s game with three hits, three runs scored, and four RBIs.
Although Stanton’s spring started slow, his home runs in each of his final two spring games changed that pace.
Stanton Fine in Dealing With Media Scrutiny
Last week, when asked about the expectations that the media and fans put on him, Stanton told a reporter at the New York Post,
“The good times will be magnified and so will the bad. The fans expect a lot and I expect a lot, too.”
Familiar With the Big Stage
Surely some writers will panic at the first time Stanton strikes out twice in a game, or God forbid, goes hitless for an entire game. However, Stanton seems well-suited for the Big Apple. The six foot six inch giant has already made four All-Star games and he’s only 28. In addition to Stanton’s All-Star accolades, his 2017 quest to reach 60 home runs made the news regularly. When Stanton comes to down, there are more fans in the seats. New York’s media and fan scrutiny will be different for Stanton, but not new.
Provided that Stanton can stay healthy, he has a very good chance to surpass Roger Maris’ single-season Yankee home run record of 61. Equally important is that Stanton now has Gary Sanchez hitting behind him for protection. If the stars align this season, the Yankees will have three hitters who have hit 60 home runs in a season.
161 more games to find out if he does.