Giancarlo Stanton waited a long time to experience Wednesday night’s American League Wild Card game against the Oakland Athletics. After all, it was likely a big reason why the New York Yankees were a top trade destination for him last winter.
Batting fourth and occupying the designated hitter spot in manager Aaron Boone‘s lineup, merely appearing in this game was significant.
Stanton’s first taste of playoff baseball was a positive one, too — he went 1-for-3 with a two runs scored, one RBI, a walk, and a dinger.
This is now the second consecutive season in which a Yankees player hit a homer in his first postseason game with the organization, but it’s only happened nine total times in franchise history.
That wasn’t all Stanton did, though — he also stole a base. Since he only swiped five bags this year and has registered double-digit steals just once in his nine-year MLB career, not many would expect him to pop up on the below list.
That’s baseball for you.
However, many people do expect Stanton to hit baseballs hard, which is exactly what he did on Wednesday. Aaron Judge had set a postseason record in the first inning with a 116.1 mph exit velocity on his own dinger, but it didn’t stand for very long.
The Yankees were supposed to be the kings of exit velocity with studs like Stanton and Judge occupying the same lineup. They’ve understandably blown everyone else in the league away this year.
And don’t forget, they’ve accomplished this despite Judge appearing in just 112 games due to injury.
The 2018 regular season was certainly a step back for Stanton based off his MVP-winning campaign from last year, but it was still a solid debut performance in pinstripes. This was the second consecutive season he recorded at least 35 homers, 100 runs scored, and 100 RBI, as well as appearing in no fewer than 158 games.
Now that Stanton has finally gotten his first taste of what October baseball is like, it’ll surely reach another level Friday, when New York plays the Boston Red Sox in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
About Matt Musico
Matt currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book about how to become a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.