A hailstorm of superlative adjectives typically follows when just about anyone around the Yankees is asked about Giancarlo Stanton of late.
But "surprise" is not one of them.
"I mean, you know what he's capable of," Aaron Boone said late Tuesday night. "This is what we’ve seen kind of brewing from him going back the last couple of years; just, obviously, hasn’t been able to be out there enough [because of various injuries]. And I just love his mindset, his preparation, his game plan, his process. And he's going out there and carrying that out and finding results with it."
Results that, entering Wednesday night, had Stanton riding the best stretch of his career in pinstripes. The DH came into the day with a 10-game hitting streak (the longest of his Yankees’ career and second-longest of his career overall), slashing .477/.489/.818 (21-for-44) with four homers, three doubles, nine runs and six RBIs in that span. Stanton entered the night hitting .297 with seven homers — tied with Aaron Judge for team-best — and an .887 OPS in 25 games.
Home run No. 7 was a two-run first-inning shot Tuesday night that helped spark the Yankees to a 7-3 victory over the loathed Astros. Stanton would go 4-for-5 with three RBIs on the night, finishing a triple shy of the cycle.
He followed that up on Wednesday night with a two-run homer in the third inning off Astros starter Luis Garcia, who struck him out in his first at-bat.
"I mean, he hits the crap of the ball every time," said leadoff man DJ LeMahieu, whom Stanton has been following in the two-hole of late. "I’m just trying to get on base. Judgy right behind him is heating up, too. So if I can just get on base…I feel like pretty good things are happening right now."
Those positive things were not happening in the early going for Stanton.
His resurgence began on the Yankees’ recent trip that saw them go 5-3 in separate four-game series in Cleveland and then Baltimore. After sitting the opener of the Cleveland series on April 22, Stanton crushed two homers the next night, leading the Yankees to a 5-3 victory.
Going into that night’s game, Stanton, in a 3-for-32 slide, was hitting .158, the reason afterward the veteran wasn’t celebrating two hits, no matter how impressively they registered on the exit velocity scale (115.7 mph and 118 mph).
"One good game isn't anything, either," Stanton said that night. "So I've got to just feed off of it."
Boone, the same night, said balls hit by Stanton generally are "just different."
"You just don't see balls hit like that, and to hit two of them like he did in the game — it was two really impressive swings," Boone continued. "When he's locked in, when he hits them like that, it's just different than anyone I've ever seen."
While not overly impressed by his night in Cleveland, Stanton did what he hoped to — feed off it.
Going into Wednesday, Stanton had multiple hits in five of his last six games, slashing .571/.571/.857 (16-for-28) with two homers, two doubles, six runs and four RBIs. Boone has said Stanton is a far superior hitter than he was in Miami, including in 2017 when he hit 59 homers and won the NL MVP.
"I just think he’s advanced in everything he does as far as, first his approach, his understanding of what teams are trying to do," Boone said before Wednesday night’s game. "I feel like the game plan he formulates is strong and he’s committed to it."
Stanton said it has been a matter of sticking with what works.
"Obviously, I had to make an adjustment," he said of his slump and getting out of it, much of which has to do with better pitch selection. "Sooner or later, if you stick to it, it's going to pan out. It's already a failure-first sport, so it's just sticking with something and making slight adjustments with that."