After months of anticipation, George Springer finally made his regular-season debut for the Blue Jays this week.
When Springer signed a 6-year, $150M deal with Toronto, I was elated. Now, if he can just make it through the slog of the month-long exhibition slate…Then came the abdominal tightness, the oblique strain, the setback. What started as a precaution turned into a six-week IL stint.
“I want to play. I’m sick and tired of being on the IL and not being out there with the guys.”— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 28, 2021
George Springers’ looming debut provides a boost for a Blue Jays club that’s fought through a series of injuries in the season’s opening month. (By @ShiDavidi)https://t.co/w72sDm6ufI
Fast forward to Wednesday night. In a pre-game sit-down with Sportsnet’s Hazel May Springer opened up about his upbringing. Shortly after signing with the Jays, a photo of a young Springer wearing a Blue Jays cap circulated social media. He was a member of the Connecticut Blue Jays, a local youth baseball team.
How did George Springer fall in love with the game of hockey?— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 28, 2021
He chats with @thehazelmae and shares one-word thoughts on some of his new teammates, what he really thinks of manager Charlie Montoyo, plus his love for hockey. 🏒
He also shared his passion for another sport, hockey. He and his father attended several Hartford Whalers games while growing up in the area. Nothing endears an American athlete to Canadian sports fans than a love of hockey (even if they play baseball).
In his debut, Springer had a couple of hard-hit balls but went hitless. He singled and reached base four times in his second game versus Atlanta on Friday. He then broke out with a pair of long home runs, including a 470-foot bomb on Saturday.
Vladdy’s Historic Night
For years Blue Jays’ fans had heard about Vladimir Guerrero’s sublime talents. They watched videos of him mashing in the minor leagues and salivated over his undeniable gifts. Then we made his MLB debut in 2019 and he was, ok. Serviceable, pedestrian, slightly above average statistically. He definitely had his moments along the way but also some struggles. Overall, it felt like the best had yet to come.
Then, Guerrero Jr. showed up to camp in great shape. He has seen the ball well, hit a ton, and has shown no signs of stopping. His breakout season, however, lacked a signature moment. That is until Tuesday night.
Vladdy took Nationals ace Max Scherzer deep twice. First, on a grand slam in the third inning and then a solo shot in the fifth. Then, in the seventh, a bomb off Kyle Finnegan to straightaway centrefield.
All three Vladimir Guerrero Jr. home runs tonight! pic.twitter.com/9gVqfWhIAs— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 28, 2021
Guerrero Jr. became the youngest player in MLB history with 3 HRs and 7 RBI in one game. It put the finishing touches on what has been a masterful first month of the season. For the month of April, he hit .350 with 7 HR and 20 RBI with an OPS of 1.153.
At 22 years old, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the youngest player in Blue Jays history with a 3-HR game. He’s the 2nd-youngest player in the last 50 years to do it.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 28, 2021
Vlad Jr. is also the youngest player in MLB history with a 3-HR, 7 RBI game.
Note, Vlad Sr. never had a 3-HR game. pic.twitter.com/lnEVvD7eXS
Making It Kirk
Alejandro Kirk did his best Vladimir Guerrero Jr. impression on Friday night. The young catcher launched 2 long homers. The first came on a 3-0 green light and it was a no-doubter. Actually, at 428 and 435 feet respectively, they both were. Unfortunately, the following day, Kirk landed on the 10-day IL with a flexor strain.
Seeing’s The Most Important Thing
Kirk’s injury meant that Danny Jansen and his 2 hits would be the guy behind the plate. It’ll also give the fans a look at call-up Riley Adams, who will likely make his team debut this week. After donning an athletic pair of shades earlier in the season, Jansen wore no glasses in a recent game. He was then seen wearing a “nerdy” pair that are reminiscent of a pair former Blue Jay Eric Sogard prefers.
After suffering through an 0-35 skid, Jansen bounced back with a pair of hits, RBI, and a run scored in Sunday’s 7-2 win over the Braves. Although he hasn’t developed as a hitter, “D.J” is still a valuable member of the team. His work with the pitching staff is one of the reasons the Blue Jays have the second-best ERA (3.41) in the American League.
The easy narrative when the team acquired Springer was that Grichuk would be expendable. He’s just kept his head down and continued to grind. He’s been the Blue Jays second most consistent performer. His walk-off RBI single clinched a wild comeback on Saturday.
I was stunned to discover Semien’s 2-run double in the third inning on Sunday was his first of the season. He also hit his sixth homer of the season and is 11 for his last 32 (.343). This lineup has already clearly benefited from Springer’s return.
The Jays are on their first three-game win streak of the season. They’ve won 7 of 9 overall and are 2 games above .500 for the first time since they were 3-1. Here we come Red Sox.