Giancarlo Stanton got off to an auspicious start to his Yankees career, smashing a pair of home runs in an Opening Day win over the Blue Jays. Since then, the slugger has struggled, culminating in a five-strikeout performance in Tuesday’s 11-4 win over the Rays.
Stanton and the Marlins’ Chad Wallach are the only players to strike out five times in a game so far this season. It happened five times last season with Brian Dozier, Javier Baez, Nelson Cruz, Matt Davidson, and Odubel Herrera. The last Yankee to strike out five times in a game was David Adams on September 29, 2013 against the Astros. Stanton had never accomplished the “feat” until Tuesday.
After Tuesday’s action, Stanton is batting .211/.348/.632 with the two home runs as well as four RBI and four runs scored in 23 trips to the plate.
The good news for the Yankees is that they didn’t need Stanton’s bat to hang up double digits on the Rays. Didi Gregorius hit a pair of three-run homers and added a two-run single in a four-hit, eight-RBI performance. The last Yankee to knock in eight runs in a game was Alex Rodriguez on April 26, 2005 against the Angels. He had three homers and 10 RBI that day. Five players in baseball had eight-RBI games last year: Andrew McCutchen, Chris Iannetta, Mookie Betts, Scooter Gennett (4 HR, 10 RBI), and Anthony Rendon (3 HR, 10 RBI).
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.