The whole world knew Giancarlo Stanton could hit eye-popping missiles for home runs, as he did this weeknd for the first time as a Yankee, but what we're finding out about him is that he can be as blunt as he is strong.
On this day, for example, when asked about taking Matt Harvey over the wall in center field in the fifth inning, he said he made an adjustment from his second at-bat, when he struck out swinging.
So what was the adjustment?
"Don't miss the fastball away," Stanton said.
In short, he was ticked off at himself for the strikeout. He credited Harvey with making a good two-strike fastball at the knees to get him swinging, but added:
"The two before that I should have crushed."
Yes, Stanton says what he's thinking, and he has a bit of an edge to him, which could make for quite a fascinating time in New York, especially in his first season.
As his postgame interview at his locker continued, a reporter asked about what Stanton thought he and Aaron Judge, who also had a big day in the 10-3 win over the Mets, could do as a tandem.
Stanton made it clear he's intrigued by the thought, referring to the 111 home runs they combined to hit last season when he offered something of a sly smile and said:
"All you can do is go off of our stats from the previous year, what you think we can do. Put us together and who knows after that?"
When the same reporter asked if he thought it was possible that he and Judge could each hit 60 home runs this season, Stanton's tone changed.
"It's definitely possible," he said, "but that's not the goal."
Then he decided to lay down some ground rules in a fashion that was about as subtle as the force of his swing:
"Don't ask me about numbers and stuff. That's not the goal."
Fair enough. The guy has made it clear that he's starved to be part of a winner, after all those years in Miami, and so he wants to make it clear his priority is helping lead the Yankees to a championship.
In that regard he's much like Judge, who won over teammates last season with his genuinely humble nature, deflecting much of the attention he received for his 52 home runs by talking team.
And, sure enough, when Judge was asked the 60-60 question a few minutes later, Stanton just happened to be walking past the group interview and overheard it.
"There it is," he said, cutting in on the interview, "there's that 60 again."
He seemed to be doing it lightheartedly, but there was also no doubt he was making his point again.
Judge, who measures his every word carefully anyway, took his cue from his new teammate and said, "We've got to put in the work first. I can't give you a yes or no on that."
The home run questions aren't going to go away, of course, because there are going to be days when Judge and Stanton put on spectacular fireworks displays, and the Yankees steamroll opponents with the most imposing lineup in baseball.
Saturday was the first time the two of them had a dramatic impact on a game, as they, together with leadoff hitter Brett Gardner, were mostly responsible for the five runs Harvey gave up in 4 2/3 innings, figuring in rallies in the first, third, and fifth innings.
From the No. 2 spot in the lineup, Judge singled, doubled, and then walked ahead of Stanton's home run in the fifth, leading him to say, yes, he liked the idea of the two of them hitting back-to-back in the lineup.
"Yeah, because I'm going to score about 200 runs just by getting on base for him," Judge said. "Just set the table for him."
Judge couldn't stifle a laugh, pawning himself off as a table-setter, but it does make for quite a dynamic with him hitting second and Stanton third.
For while Aaron Boone has indicated he'd prefer to split up the two right-handed sluggers by hitting Greg Bird in the No. 3 spot between them, I think the idea of Judge and Stanton hitting back-to-back, ensuring that each comes to the plate in the first inning, makes for quite an intimidation factor for opposing pitchers.
Boone said he is considering that possibility, and he could still use Bird in the No. 4 spot ahead of Gary Sanchez to split up the three right-handed hitters, mostly to make it more difficult for managers to match up with relievers late in games.
The bottom line is the Yankees are going to be a juggernaut offensively no matter how Boone lines them up, and Saturday offered the first look at such possibilities.
In the fifth, especially, Harvey paid for pitching carefully to Judge with two outs, issuing a two-out walk, because Stanton made the adjustment after striking out in the third.
As he said, he didn't miss the fastball away this time, hitting a ball that came off the bat so loudly, Judge said, "I needed earplugs at first base."
It's going to be noisy in the Bronx, all right. In addition to the home runs, Stanton is going to let you know exactly what he thinks.
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