Masahiro Tanaka didn’t get an out until the sixth batter of the game and gave up seven runs (six earned) in five innings. The Yankees made two errors and could have been charged with more. They didn’t get a hit until one out in the fifth inning.
They were beaten, 9-1, by the woeful, tanking Miami Marlins.
The focal point, though, of a dreary Tuesday evening in the Bronx was Giancarlo Stanton, who continued his early-season struggles by going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
And boy did he get booed. Not just after each at-bat. Before, during and after.
“I understand,” Stanton said of why he’s getting the brunt of the negative fan reaction. He did not elaborate. He didn’t have to.
Stanton didn’t throw a ball away, as Didi Gregorius did as two runs scored in Miami’s three-run first. He didn’t whiff on catching a throw, as first baseman Tyler Austin did in the second, leading to another run. He didn’t allow a three-run homer to J.T. Realmuto in the fifth, as Tanaka did to give Miami a 7-0 lead.
But Stanton did ground into a double play with runners on first and second in the first. He did pop out to second with two men on in the third (and did fire his bat into the ground as he jogged to first). He did strike out to lead off the sixth and eighth.
The crowd of 34,005 let Stanton know they were not pleased each time, as they have since he went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in the Yankees’ home opener — a game the Yankees won, 11-4.
“He’ll get it rolling here and eventually the league will pay for some of his early struggles,” manager Aaron Boone said. “It’ll be a juggernaut.”
Boos are part of the deal when expectations are as high as they are for Stanton, who is supposed to form a new “M&M Boys” with Aaron Judge.
Judge is holding up his end, with a .339 batting average and 1.073 OPS after going 0-for-2 with two walks. Last year’s AL Rookie of the Year is showing patience and taking his free passes as teams seem to prefer pitching to Stanton.
And who can blame them? Stanton, last year’s NL MVP, is down to .197. He has three home runs, two of them in the March 29 season opener at Toronto, including his first at-bat as a Yankee.
At home — his new home — Stanton is 3-for-35 (.086) with 20 strikeouts. That’s not going to win any love.
Asked if he had an answer for why he has struggled at home, Stanton said: “No.” Again, he did not elaborate.
Asked how hard it is to walk up to the plate hearing boos, Stanton said: “Pretty simple. Worry about the positive things, even if there are not very many things.”
Our annual disclaimer: Fans have the right to boo whomever they please whenever they please. You pay your money, you can boo, even if it can be counterproductive to helping one of your own feel welcome.
Stanton’s not really one of your own yet, is he? People talk about a new arrival’s “True Yankee Moment.” It can be a real thing.
Hideki Matsui hit a grand slam in his first home game as a Yankee in 2003. Jason Giambi hit a 14th-inning walk-off grand slam in the pouring rain six weeks into his first Yankees season in 2002. Going back further, Derek Jeter had a home run and that over-the-shoulder catch in the freezing cold in Cleveland as a rookie on Opening Day in 1996.
If you’re a Yankees fan, you remember those moments. Stanton has yet to give you one, and the way he looked Tuesday in his second game against his former team, it’s hard to imagine one is coming anytime soon.
Giancarlo Stanton’s numbers in his first nine home games as a Yankee: