All those Yankees fans that booed and admonished Giancarlo Stanton are probably feeling pretty silly right now — though the slugger handled the constant harassment from the Bronx faithful earlier in his New York career better than those across town in Queens.
After putting on a show against in the playoffs last year, Stanton is putting the Yankees on his back — or broad shoulders as manager Aaron Boone described it — down the stretch with the hopes of making one final, clinching push to nab an American League Wild Card spot.
The Yankees went from outside the playoff picture to the No. 1 Wild Card spot in a blink after sweeping the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park over the weekend with Stanton playing the starring role.
He homered in each of the three games; each with more importance than the last.
His three-run home run in the third inning of Friday’s opener put the Yankees on the board and set the tone for an 8-3 win.
On Saturday night, trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning, he unleashed an absolute moon shot of a grand slam over the left-center field section of Fenway Park to lift New York to an eventual 5-3 victory.
“You can’t be scared of those moments or it’ll sneak up on you real quick and you’ll get all the big moments,” Stanton said. “You have to be prepared, do all your homework, and zone in on what you have to do.
“At the end of the day, it’s still the same game you’ve been playing your whole life and you have to overcome those moments. You’re not going to succeed in all of them but you have to be ready for them.”
In the series finale on Sunday night, directly after Aaron Judge put the Yankees ahead 4-3 with a double, Stanton iced the game and the sweep with another laser to left — a fitting knockout blow of a one-sided duel with the Green Monster.
Three home runs, 10 RBI in the sweep.
“In a way, he’s come up big all year. Obviously, this is Fenway Park and we’re battling with them,” Boone said of Stanton. “These games are so big that maybe it’s to another level, but he’s been coming up big for us in big situations all season long. Obviously, he’s locked in right now and playing so well and he’s so focused. I’m happy for him and proud of him and love the fact that he’s in such a good place.”
Stanton has been red hot to help the Yankees get out of the doldrums of a 7-15 stretch as they’ve now won six straight heading into another mammoth series up north against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I’m just ready to go,” Stanton said. “A lot is on the line for our season and it’s a big time right now. I just have to make sure I’m the most prepared that I can be and just go out there and do what I can.”
Safe to say that those summer nights of heckling from a few years back are firmly a thing of the past.
“Just watching him and getting to know him and getting to appreciate him over the last few years, I couldn’t be happier with him,” Boone said. “He’s getting his due because he deserves it. This is a guy that likes to play in the biggest moments, has broad shoulders, and can handle whatever comes his way.”
“It means a lot for me,” Stanton added. “I put in a lot of work and time and study. This is my whole life. To be able to contribute and to help the team out [is great].”