A reality check is often required over a 162-game season, and that’s precisely what the Toronto Blue Jays received Tuesday night against the New York Yankees.
Amid a tight wild-card race, the Blue Jays were hoping to win two straight games over one of their divisional rivals, unfortunately, a handful of sloppy mistakes proved to be a key difference-maker. Most notably, first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made a costly decision on the base paths in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With Toronto trailing 5-1, Guerrero came to the plate with two outs and teammate George Springer on third base, delivering a massive RBI single to left field. The only problem, however, is that the 23-year-old was thrown out at second base, ending the inning.
So close Vladdy!! So close pic.twitter.com/0Xp8arZlrO
— The Short Porch (@short_porch) September 28, 2022
What’s worse is that shortstop Bo Bichette was also called out at second on the play before after his foot came off the base for a split second. That eliminated the possibility of having two runners on base in front of the 2021 AL MVP runner-up.
Bo Bichette comes off the bag and IKF holds the tag on him and he’s out! pic.twitter.com/KKkJgY1kYK
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) September 28, 2022
In the end, New York secured a 5-2 victory at Rogers Centre, clinching the AL East Division. Afterwards, interim manager John Schneider wasn’t pleased with his club’s performance, especially Guerrero’s poor baserunning decision.
While speaking to reporters post-game, Schneider revealed that he planned on speaking with his young superstar and reminding him of the importance of hustling during every at-bat.
John Schneider said he intends to remind Vlad Guerrero Jr. of the importance of going full-effort while baserunning: “Vladdy flat-out needs to run harder … that’s inexcusable.”
Adds: “He’s still young, he’ll be fine … but you’ve got to leave no margin for error.”
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) September 28, 2022
Schneider continued and further explained how every little detail matters during this time of the season. With little margin for error, there must be improved execution involving baseball fundamentals.
More Schneider on the #Bluejays base-running woes. "We’re at the point where every little thing matters, every 90 feet matters and it should matter every day of the season."
— Rob Longley (@longleysunsport) September 28, 2022
Guerrero Jr. took full responsibility for his gaffe when he spoke to the media ahead of the series finale on Wednesday.
“At that moment ... I thought to myself that I had to put a better effort on running hard. If I were to run like I'm capable, I would have made it to second base," he said through interpreter Hector Lebron. "When John came to me, I knew what he was going to tell me and before he even said anything, I said, ‘Hey, I should have put out a better effort. I should have run harder. And if you have to say anything to the press about that, I don't have any problem with that.’”
The Yankees took the series 2-1 after an 8-3 win on Wednesday, in which superstar slugger Aaron Judge tied the American League record for home runs in a season with his 61st deep fly of the season.
But with just seven contests remaining, Schneider’s team will be looking to improve on their latest defeat as they inch closer to their first playoff berth since 2020.
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