PHILADELPHIA — Giancarlo Stanton called his rebound in the month of June a matter of “steady steps,” and not much more than that.
“Having better at-bats, making better contact more often,” Stanton said after collecting two hits in Tuesday night’s victory over the Phillies. “Gotten some bad choppers in there, but putting the ball in play.”
That’s a bit of an understatement as this month the Yankees have at last gotten a prolonged look at the player they thought they were getting last December from the Marlins.
Entering Wednesday night Stanton had a slash line of .268/.341/.517 with 19 homers and 46 RBIs. A big month of June — he’s slashing .319/.387/.628 with a 1.014 OPS with eight homers and 17 RBIs — has brought up his numbers significantly.
The 28-year-old Stanton, in a 10-for-17 stretch going into Wednesday night, said his strategy at the plate has been better.
“It’s been calmer, trusting my approach more,” he said. “Just having a better approach.”
He did not delve too much into the specifics but offered a bit.
“Altering how I’m studying the pitchers, what I think they’re going to do to me,” Stanton said. “Just little things.”
Regardless, for all of his struggles this season — especially at home where he’s hitting .215 with a .713 OPS compared to hitting .322 with a 1.004 OPS on the road — Stanton through 76 games entering Wednesday night has him with remarkably similar numbers to what he had at this point last season.
A season, you might recall, in which Stanton won NL MVP honors, hitting 59 homers and driving in 132 runs. Through 76 games in 2017 Stanton was slashing .274/.356/.551 with 21 homers and 50 RBIs.
“I just think he’s getting on time better,” Aaron Boone said. “We’re starting to see him impact some good fastballs. I think he’s just starting to find that timing I’ve been talking about all year, that rhythm. I think he’s getting synced up, he’s getting started a little bit earlier. It’s very subtle but it’s allowing him to get into a strong position and we’re starting to see the results a little more consistently now.”
Stanton had two hard hits on Tuesday that resulted in singles — he was thrown out at second trying to stretch a seventh-inning laser into a double. But what had his teammates and manager and quite a few fans buzzing was a titanic blast during batting practice.
During his final round, Stanton sent one over the second deck in leftfield at Citizens Bank Park and completely out of the stadium. Longtime locals said they had never seen a ball hit that hard or that far in this stadium.
“Pretty impressive,” Boone said.
Stanton and Aaron Judge putting on shows during BP is nothing new but, Boone said, there are still head-shaking moments.
Stanton shrugged off the blast, saying, “I would rather hit one out in the game than BP. Those [in BP] don’t matter.”
But he smiled regarding the ovation he received after his session from fans who arrived early and crammed their way near the Yankees’ dugout during BP.
“It’s pretty cool, actually, very cool,” he said of the reaction. “Switch it up from just practicing, getting our work in. Put a little show on for them.”
And for much of this month, those shows have continued when it does matter.