Aaron Boone put Giancarlo Stanton in the two hole 'Just for the heck of it,' and it's paid off

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Giancarlo Stanton was penciled in to his new spot in the batting order for Thursday’s season finale against the Astros, his now familiar two spot as he continues to ride a hot streak that has carried the Bombers to a five-game winning streak.

The second spot in the order was long occupied by fellow slugger Aaron Judge, but since Stanton was moved up to the two hole, he’s batting .433 with five home runs in 14 games.

What prompted the Yankees, typically so calculating in each strategical decision, to make that change that has immediately paid off?

For Aaron Boone, there wasn’t much calculating at all. It was more just a shuffle of the deck.

“Just for the heck of it,” Boone laughed. “A little bit of that, honestly. Obviously we had gotten off to a tough start offensively the first two weeks to start the season, kind of collectively as a group, so it was a little bit of a case of changing and switching some things up. So a little bit of ‘for the heck of it.’”

Stanton hit another home run on Wednesday night, has two in this series against Houston, both of which have given the Yankees the lead. Over his last 11 games, he’s batting .500 with a hit in each game, that 11-game hitting streak being the longest active streak in the majors.

“He went in that two hole and decided he wanted to start really raking,” Boone laughed. “I look at it more as a really good player and a really good hitter getting it rolling. Had he be hitting second, fourth, or third, I feel like he’d be in the same position. But with that being said, there’s no denying what he’s meant in that two hole. I think I’m going to keep him there for a little bit.”

Boone said he wasn’t thinking about getting the struggling Stanton more protection in front of Judge when he made the lineup switch, and that he felt Stanton was going to break out no matter what and play closer to the hitter he was in last year’s postseason.

Still, the switch doesn’t seem to have hurt, even if it wasn’t done for protection purposes.

“I’ve always felt that’s been a little overrated, especially when you’re a great hitter,” Boone said. “They’re getting his best. Whoever you have behind him, they’re treating him with respect, and obviously the way he’s swinging the bat right now, he’s going to get pitched tough no matter what.”

If pitchers are giving Stanton their toughest, it’s not working. He already has more home runs this season than in the last two years combined, and has been the driving force behind the Yanks’ steady climb up the AL East standings.

Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1

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