The Blue Jays are firmly in the MLB playoffs with just a week to go in the regular season, though there is still some jockeying to be done in the wild-card race. Which is why every game and more precisely every play matters.
Anything can happen, particularly in baseball.
On Tuesday night, Toronto was looking for its second-straight win over its AL East division rival, the Yankees, when, trailing 5-1 with two outs and a runner on third in the bottom of the sixth. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hammered a pitch off the base of the left-field wall. But instead of running hard from the start, Guerrero was slow out of the box and was thrown out at second by Aaron Hicks.
The blunder also came after Bo Bichette was called out at second on the play prior when his foot momentarily came off the base, thus eliminating the opportunity for two runners being on for Guerrero.
The Yankees went on to win, 5-2, even as Aaron Judge went homerless again.
“Vladdy flat-out needs to run harder,” interim Blue Jays skipper John Schneider said. “That’s inexcusable.”
Schneider also said he planned to speak to the 23-year-old superstar about the situation.
“We’re at the point where every little thing matters,” Schneider said. “Every 90 feet matters. It should matter every day of the season.”
The loss dropped Toronto to 87-68, 1 ½ games ahead of the Rays and three ahead of the Mariners for the top wild-card spot. The Blue Jays wrap up their series against the Yankees on Wednesday night.