Giancarlo Stanton is struggling, trying to get the feel for being a Yankee. This is a difficult process, coming from another team.
The second best thing that could have happened to Stanton, however, is taking place.
Sure, it would be wonderful for the Yankees if Stanton had gotten off to a red-hot start to win over the fans, but that is not the case.
When Stanton was a Marlin it was all about him. He was the MVP. The power. He was the man. In a baseball way, Stanton was the living breathing version of the Marlins’ gaudy home run sculpture in center field.
Now that he is a Yankee, the other giant in the lineup, Aaron Judge is taking the pressure off Stanton.
Judge continues to be the Yankees leader and all his skills were on display Monday night in the Yankees’ annihilation of Stanton’s old team as the Bombers rolled to a 12-1 victory over the Marlins at Yankee Stadium behind a rocking-chair easy six innings of one-hit pitching by Luis Severino.
Judge is the Yankees’ sculpture, a shining star.
It didn’t get much better for Stanton on Monday night in his first meeting against his old team. He was 0-for-3, his batting average dropped to .210. He missed a tape-measure home run in the first when the ball went foul.
Meanwhile, Judge continues to show his mighty game. He is the work of art in the Yankees lineup and by doing all that he has, he gives Stanton time to get his act together in pinstripes.
Judge walked and scored a run in the first. His second time up he drove a home run deep to right-center, his fourth of the season, not too far from those Judge’s Chambers: All Rise.
The home run was the 60th of Judge’s career and it came in his 197th game, the fastest any player has gotten to 60 home runs. He is hitting .351 and owns an on-base percentage of .479.
For Stanton, it has been a struggle.
“I’m feeling all right,’’ Stanton said of his swing.
As for facing his former teammates, or what’s left of them, Stanton said, “It wasn’t weird. Once I go to Miami it will be pretty weird for me. It was good to see the guys.’’
His advice for his old teammates?
“Keep fighting. Keep playing well, you can wind up wherever you want to be,’’ Stanton said. “If this is your first couple of years it can take a little longer, team has you under control.’’
In the fifth inning, Judge lined a scorcher past shortstop for an RBI single. He later went from first to third on Gary Sanchez’s blistering single to center field, showing off his speed.
Throw in the second two-homer game of the season by Didi Gregorius, who leads the Yankees with five home runs and the rout was complete.
“It’s huge,’’ Stanton said of Judge’s accomplishments. “He’s starting where he finished off last year. Keep driving. He’s pushing the envelope for things that haven’t been done. It’s cool to watch.’’
Judge owns a 12-game hitting streak and a 17-game Yankee Stadium hitting streak, dating to last season, the longest active home hitting streak in the majors. He leads the AL with 13 walks and has scored at least one run in seven straight games.
While all that is going on, Stanton is off to a cold start, much like the terrible weather that has engulfed the game this season. When Stanton fouled out to first base in that fifth inning, the boos cascaded down on him. Then in the seventh on his three-pitch strikeout, there were even more boos.
At some point Stanton is going to heat up, just like the weather. The Yankees will have their two Monster Sluggers. It’s going to happen.
By Judge doing so much now, though, he has helped take the glare of disappointment off Stanton. Stanton clearly is putting too much pressure on himself. When he struck out in the seventh, he complained after the first two pitches were called strikes by home-plate umpire Lance Barrett with the Yankees owning a huge lead.
It will get easier for Stanton once his swing comes together.