If you weren’t aware that the slugger was finally back from the DL after missing 36 games with a strained hamstring, the public service announcement was made loud and clear on Monday as the Fish took on the Arizona Diamondbacks.
If only 9-0 sensation Patrick Corbin had heard about it earlier.
Cruising through five innings on a 2-0 lead given to him by his D’Backs, the southpaw faced Stanton with a runner on with two outs. One 2-0 fastball later, the game was tied, and his quest for 10-0 stopped in its tracks. Now, you’d think it might have been a good idea to just pitch around the Marlins slugger at this point based on past precedent … but, apparently that’s not how Heath Bell rolls.
As though it wasn’t just enough to watch the 23-year-old crush a moonshot off one of his teammates, the Established Closer (TM) wanted to join in on the full Stanton experience, tempting him with a 1-2 letter-high fastball that caught just a little bit too much of the plate.
Of course, Stanton obliged, sending a opposite field rocket out of the park and handing Bell the loss. Lesson learned.
Given that he’d come off a weekend at the end of April in which he hit three home runs over two games, perhaps opposing pitchers should have taken note to begin with that maybe the old ‘rust’ rule doesn’t really apply to the phenom. Stanton has hit in all seven games he’s played in since returning on June 10, with four homers and three doubles in that span to just a pair of strikeouts over 30 PA.
He’s not really hitting a whole lot of line drives at just 11.5 percent on the month … but the reason for that is because a whopping 40 percent of his fly balls are turning into homers. I mean, he’s only slugging .929 in as part of a .393/433/.929 triple-slash. No big deal.
Consider all NL pitchers officially on notice: Stanton is back — pitch to him at your own peril.