His feet settled in the right-handed batter's box at Fenway on Saturday night, Giancarlo Stanton dropped his chin slightly, as he does before each pitch, to narrow his field of vision. With his head tilted in this way, there is only a sliver of space between the bill of his lowered batting helmet and the curl of protective gear that covers his left cheekbone, and through this, Stanton focuses on the pitcher. Like staring at the moon through a telescope.
In that moment, Boston's Darwinzon Hernandez tried to sneak a fastball past him to escape with Strike 1, but Stanton did not miss. As he recoiled and dropped the bat, the baseball had easily cleared the Green Monster in left-center field, and a fragile Red Sox lead was wrecked. Stanton's grand slam was the pivot point of the Yankees' three-game sweep at Fenway Park over the weekend, and, Aaron Boone said, the preeminent regular-season moment of the manager's tenure in its importance and emotion.
Stanton also homered on Friday and on Sunday, three homers in three games, with 10 RBIs, hoisting the Yankees into the lead of the American League wild-card race. "It's go time," Stanton said right after the sweep. "This is what it's all about, this is the most important time, and I'm glad things are clicking."
In 48 games since Aug. 3, Stanton has 18 homers and 47 RBIs, with a .320 batting average and an OPS of 1.024. He is healthy, a state that has been elusive in a lot of his time with the Yankees, and his physical well-being has seemingly melded with the experience and knowledge and useful emotional scar tissue Stanton has gleaned during his years in New York.