It has been a forgettable season for Giancarlo Stanton, but the playoffs present an opportunity for it to be something other than a forgettable year.
The outfielder, who played 159 and 158 games in 2018 and 2017, respectively, played in only 18 games this season because of a variety of injuries. The former NL MVP (in 2017 with the Marlins) hit .288 with three homers and an .894 OPS in 59 at-bats.
October baseball, starting Friday night in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Twins, offers the opportunity he’s been waiting for all season.
“That was terrible for me, so I just used it as this is what I built it for,” Stanton said Thursday of the constant injury setbacks, including issues with his shoulder and knee. “This is what I’m doing all this for and just visualized what I can do. Each day — the tougher the day, the more repetitive the day seemed, it was all looking forward to this. So now we’re here.”
In some ways, the Yankees, who placed a record 30 players on the IL, are more “whole” than they’ve been all season. For one of the few times in 2019, the Yankees are expected to have pretty much all of their power bats — Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Edwin Encarnacion — in the lineup (they still finished second to the Twins in homers, 307-306).
“This is the best time to all be back,” Stanton said. “We all know what we can do individually in parts of the season. So now we’re all together, and we just got to bring that big force and make sure we take care of it.”
The clubhouse feeling overall?
“Just from everything we’ve gone through all year, just that we’re ready,” Stanton said. “We’ve taken enough punches, and we’re ready to go out and battle and enjoy this month. It’s our turn.”