Make no mistake about it, this season belongs to Aaron Judge and his historic run through MLB America.
But if the New York Yankees are going to finally win the World Series again — the last time was 2009 — it will be because of Giancarlo Stanton.
Simply put, his bat is lethal.
Whenever there’s some big, Earth-shaking home run happening in a big spot, Stanton’s bat is usually the source of it.
We saw it again Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. It was supposed to be a bad day at the office, a terrible loss to the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.
After all, the Pirates led 8-5 in the ninth inning after Judge hit a solo homer — his 60th on the season.
And when Stanton came up to the plate, the bases were loaded. Stanton then blasted a laser shot into the left-field stands after Wil Crowe left a changeup too high. Fans in Da Bronx jumped for joy. It was like a scene from the movies, so unreal it seemed scripted.
But this is who Stanton is. He once hit 59 homers in a season for the Marlins.
Injuries, not good stuff from the mound, have stymied Stanton the most.
When healthy, he’s must-see TV. He’s a guy a bathroom run or a concession run must wait for.
We saw it at the All-Star Game in L.A. Stanton blasted a long two-run HR into the left-field stands at Dodger Stadium, tying the game for the AL. It was his first All-Star Game as a Yankee and he became just the third Yankee to win the All-Star MVP.
At the break, Stanton had 24 HRs and 61 RBI. The Yankees had the best record at 64-28, with a 13-game lead over the AL East. Without question, Stanton’s bat was a big part of why they had played like monsters.
And we can’t forget Stanton’s heroics in the Field of Dream Game in the Iowa cornfields. He drilled a memorable two-out, two-run go-head HR that put the Yankees on top of the White Sox in the ninth inning (of course Tim Anderson just after).
Even better, if you’re a Yankees fan, is that Stanton has had the magical bat going in the postseason the last few years for the Bombers.
In fact, in his last eight playoff games, Stanton has seven homers and 14 RBI. In 2020, Stanton became the first player to hit a home run in each of his team’s first five games of a postseason.
Paired with Judge, it’s a deadly combination.
When the Yankees got off to that ridiculous start to the 2022 season, it was the first time Judge and Stanton were fully healthy and playing every day.
When the pair both homer in a game, it’s almost an automatic win for the Bronx Bombers. The pair have been teammates since 2018, but injuries usually claimed one of the other.
In the first 26 games where both have homered, the Yankees were 25-1.
Back on May 13, both sluggers homered in a 10-4 victory over the White Sox in Chicago. At the time, the win gave the Yanks an MLB-best 24 wins on the season. It was only the fifth time in franchise history that they reached 24 wins in their first 32 games.
And in the other four seasons they accomplished it, they won the World Series (1928, ’39, ’58, and ’98)
Stanton got injured at the All-Star Game and was placed on the injured list. The Yankees’ offense then stalled for nearly three weeks. New York went 12-17, averaging two runs less a game when Stanton was sidelined with left Achilles tendinitis.
In his first game back, Stanton, of course, had three RBI in the Yankees’ 13-4 victory over the Oakland A’s.
Stanton’s presence makes teams have to pitch to Judge. That protection is huge.
If the pair reach 100 homers — Stanton 27 and Judge 60 — it will be the sixth pair of teammates to accomplish it in history. Only one set of teammates each had 50 or more in a season when Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris did it in 1961.
Both Judge and Stanton are that potent. But Stanton’s bat is key to a Yankees’ title this season. It’s clearly been the case all season long.