Judge, Rowson fire Giancarlo Stanton to make a big offensive impact

The Yankees teammates erupt in joy after Giancarlo Stanton hit a grand slam vs. the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on April 7, 2024/
Sara Molnick
Monday April 8, 2024

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Sunday’s big grand slam by Giancarlo Stanton vindicated the faith the Yankees and his teammates reposed in him despite furious criticism by outsiders. It came a day after he showed a spark with a low-flying blast on Saturday and his hitting coach refused to write off the Yankees’ hardest hitter.

The Yankees dugout erupted in a playful frenzy on Saturday night after Giancarlo Stanton’s homer required a video review to confirm it cleared the short right-field porch. The 349-foot blast skimmed the top of the wall before deflecting off a fan’s glove, creating a moment of suspense. Ultimately, the call was a home run at Yankee Stadium, but Statcast data suggested otherwise.

Capitalizing on the lighthearted mood, Aaron Judge playfully advised Giancarlo Stanton to “hit it a little farther next time” to avoid future review hassles.

However, the tables turned dramatically in Sunday’s series finale. This time, the Blue Jays had no reason to smile. Giancarlo Stanton’s monstrous grand slam in the third inning left no room for doubt, rocketing off the facing of the second deck in left field and eliminating any need for replays.

When questioned if Judge’s playful jab might have fueled his epic homer, Giancarlo Stanton, with a wide grin, didn’t shy away from the possibility. “No review needed on that one,” the hard-hitting slugger declared with amusement. “Just watch it soar,” he added, clearly savoring the moment.

Giancarlo Stanton silences doubters with monster slam

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AP

The entire Yankee Stadium crowd held its collective breath as Giancarlo Stanton unleashed a colossal blast that would have easily cleared the estimated 417-foot mark if not for the limitations of the second deck. This behemoth of a home run, launched with an exit velocity of 110.6 mph, left no doubt and silenced any lingering questions about Giancarlo Stanton’s prodigious power.

The sheer force of Giancarlo Stanton’s swing provided the Yankees with all the offense they needed to secure an 8-3 victory over the Blue Jays. More importantly, it served as a powerful statement. He is back to feeling like his formidable self and also morphing into the game-changing force many envisioned during spring training.

From a mental standpoint, Giancarlo Stanton couldn’t be in a better place. Gone are the days of dwelling on slumps or health concerns. After obliterating a perfectly located fastball from Blue Jays starter Bowden Francis, Stanton’s focus was razor-sharp. The crowd of 40,569 erupted in a thunderous ovation as Giancarlo Stanton, initially stoic while tracking the ball’s majestic trajectory, punctuated the moment with a graceful bat flip toward the jubilant Yankees dugout.

Manager Aaron Boone recognized the significance of the pivotal at-bat. He commended Giancarlo Stanton’s disciplined approach at the plate, crediting it with shifting the game’s momentum. Boone also acknowledged Giancarlo Stanton’s signature emotional display, underscoring the team’s excitement for their teammate’s success. This display of power and composure served as a potent reminder of the slugger’s immense talent and the impact he can have on the Yankees’ fortunes.

Giancarlo Stanton’s elusive power earlier drew criticism

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While Giancarlo Stanton’s offseason dedication might not be readily apparent in his physical appearance, his ability to crush the baseball with incredible force remains undeniable. Among his three hits on Saturday night was a single clocked at a staggering 116 mph, arguably even more impressive than his opposite-field home run. This raw power has always been a signature feature of Giancarlo Stanton’s game, even during stretches of offensive struggles.

However, this inherent brilliance is precisely where the Yankees‘ quandary lies. They crave consistency from Giancarlo Stanton to justify the remaining four years and $128 million on his contract (with $30 million being paid by the Marlins). Unfortunately, such consistency appears elusive. At 34 years of age, Giancarlo Stanton’s age cannot be ignored, and his well-documented injury history adds another layer of concern.

As a result, the Yankees’ approach with Giancarlo Stanton becomes rather straightforward: play him regularly and hope for continued brilliance like the recent display, all while anticipating periods of frustration. This early season has already been a microcosm of that rollercoaster. Prior to Saturday’s game, Giancarlo Stanton sported a meager .125 batting average (3-for-24) with 13 strikeouts, often swinging wildly and appearing off-balance at the plate. However, the following two games saw him launch two home runs (with four hits total), abruptly transforming back into a fearsome offensive force.

Giancarlo Stanton’s immense talent is undeniable, but his ability to consistently harness that power throughout a season remains the biggest question mark for the Yankees.

Rowson’s faith in Giancarlo Stanton pays off

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AP

Yankees hitting coach James Rowson understands the frustration fans might be feeling with designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton’s sluggish start to the season.

“There’s definitely an element of ‘where are the results?’ early on,” Rowson acknowledged to NJ Advance Media before Saturday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Giancarlo Stanton entered the game with a concerningly high strikeout rate, whiffing 13 times in his first 25 plate appearances. His batting average, at .125 (3-for-24), mirrored his struggles from the previous year.

However, while fans might be quick to focus on these numbers and past struggles, Rowson saw Giancarlo Stanton through a different lens. Despite the lack of immediate results, Rowson expressed satisfaction with the slugger’s development and highlighted his dedication to improvement while highlighting specific areas where refinements can be made. Importantly, Rowson reiterated his unwavering confidence in Giancarlo Stanton’s abilities, a belief reinforced during spring training.

Recognizing the young season’s infancy, Rowson emphasized the importance of focusing on the process. He claimed that with continued emphasis on his mechanics and a positive mindset, the slugger would eventually break out of his slump. As Rowson remained optimistic expecting a significant turnaround, Giancarlo Stanton began consistently finding his rhythm at the plate.

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AP

Hours after facing criticism for his slow start, Giancarlo Stanton silenced doubters with a resounding performance in the Yankees’ thrilling 9-8 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The designated hitter exploded offensively, blasting three hits and establishing himself as a key contributor. He got the party started with a solo home run over the short right-field porch in the first inning off Kevin Gausman, marking his second homer of the young season. Giancarlo Stanton didn’t stop there, lining two sharp singles against right-handed reliever Mitch White in his later at-bats. His third hit of the night, a classic Giancarlo Stanton rocket clocked in at a staggering 116.7 mph, rocketed past shortstop Bo Bichette and into left field in the fifth inning, showcasing his raw power.

Manager Aaron Boone, ever the optimist, spoke highly of Giancarlo Stanton’s performance after the game. He emphasized the importance of such displays for any player, regardless of past struggles. Boone reiterated his unwavering belief in the slugger’s mental strength and adherence to his hitting approach, dispelling any concerns about a potential downward spiral. He commended Giancarlo Stanton’s dedication despite the slow start and highlighted the importance of him finding his comfort zone and rhythm at the plate.

The Yankees’ unwavering confidence in Giancarlo Stanton’s ability to turn things around stems from the significant adjustments he made during the offseason and his established track record as a difference-maker. This belief aligns perfectly with the plan all along.

Giancarlo Stanton arrived at spring training noticeably lighter, prioritizing health and conditioning. He looked like his leanest self yet in a Yankees uniform. The adjustments he made to his approach and swing mechanics bore fruit during spring training games, culminating in his first-ever three-homer performance, albeit in an exhibition setting. However, translating that success into the regular season proved challenging in the initial week. Yet, Giancarlo Stanton’s dominant performance against the Blue Jays serves as a potent reminder of his immense talent and the Yankees’ unwavering belief in his ability to be a force throughout the season.

While recent results offer a glimmer of hope, Rowson acknowledges that a few strong games don’t guarantee long-term success. He emphasizes that behind the scenes, he continues to see the same “deliberate approach” in Giancarlo Stanton’s at-bats that was evident during spring training. Rowson and Stanton have been working closely to refine the nuances of Stanton’s powerful swing.

Despite last year’s struggles and Giancarlo Stanton’s slow start in 2024, the Yankees organization remains firmly behind their 34-year-old slugger. Rowson shares a bullish outlook for Stanton’s potential, believing he has the ability to reach incredible heights – “the sky’s the limit” as he puts it. Rowson avoids setting specific benchmarks, acknowledging Giancarlo Stanton’s unique skillset and expressing unwavering confidence in his ability to make a significant impact once he rediscovers his hitting form.

Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton celebrate following the Yankees' 8-3 win over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on April 7, 2024.
AP

The recent acquisition of Juan Soto has also alleviated some of the pressure on Giancarlo Stanton within the lineup. Previously, the offensive burden often rested squarely on he and Aaron Judge’s shoulders. With Soto’s presence, Stanton doesn’t have to carry the team single-handedly during slumps, a factor that should help maintain his confidence.

It’s worth noting that despite Giancarlo Stanton’s underwhelming performance leading up to the Blue Jays series, the Yankees boasted an impressive 8-2 record. Perhaps a shift towards positive reinforcement from the Bronx faithful, rather than harsh criticism, could be the key to unlocking his full potential and extending the Yankees’ winning streak.

Giancarlo Stanton himself acknowledged the electrifying atmosphere created by the fans, expressing his gratitude for their unwavering support. He clearly took immense satisfaction in delivering a memorable moment for them, especially considering the playful banter with Judge earlier in the week. The grand slam might have been a statement piece, not just for the Yankees, but perhaps a personal affirmation for Giancarlo Stanton, proving he can still silence any lingering doubts.

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