Aaron Boone made a bunch of changes to his lineup on Monday — including moving star rookie Gleyber Torres out of the No. 9 hole and into the No. 5 hole — but it was the glaring omission of Giancarlo Stanton that was arguably the biggest change of all.
Stanton, who went 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts over the weekend, got the day off with the Astros starting power righty Justin Verlander on Memorial Day. The Yankees manager felt like this was the right time — the “logical” time — to sit Stanton with the team in the midst of a stretch of 14 games in 13 days.
Still, it’s pretty crazy that the reigning NL MVP isn’t in the lineup with a chance to see a star pitcher he may face in the playoffs — even if it’s only late May. Boone even said he sees “value” in a guy facing a guy he might face later on. But he also talked about balance and recognizing where you are in the season.
Stanton went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on May 1 in Houston when Verlander struck out 14 in eight shutout innings. This season, he is hitting .177/.273/.258 against righty starters with two homers and 50 strikeouts in 124 at-bats.
Stanton’s closed stance has helped him mash lefty pitching. But that hasn’t been the case against righties, who can seemingly exploit him by busting him in with the fastball and then finishing him off with breaking stuff away.
“There’s always an adjustment phase,” Boone said. “And while he goes through that I know he’s had some ups and downs already. He’s also been wildly productive for a guy that’s had his ups and downs so far and I think over time he’ll continue to work at it and he’ll continue to get more and more comfortable and there will be that period where eventually I’m confident he’ll really take off. So hopefully that’s coming soon.”
The Yankees continue to harp on Stanton’s track record and ability to adjust. And given that it’s a long season, it certainly makes sense for them to stay patient. But sitting Stanton against Verlander likely wasn’t what they had in mind at the beginning of the year.
As for Torres (.330, 9 HR, 24 RBI), Boone isn’t worried about him feeling any extra pressure. Boone wasn’t sure yet if he’d keep Torres in the middle of the order.