By NOAH TRISTER AP Baseball Writer
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays look like they could be challengers for a while in the American League.
Whether they can reach the playoffs this year remains to be seen – and the next series may go a long way in deciding that.
Guerrero had three hits in Sunday’s 8-0 win over Oakland, the fourth straight win for Toronto. The Blue Jays are four games behind Boston for the second wild card in the American League – and 4 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees for the first wild card. Toronto kicks off a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Monday.
No matter how it turns out, the future looks bright for Canada’s lone major league team. Guerrero is 22 and lives up very well to expectations, and 23-year-old Bo Bichette has a great season on shortstop. Teoscar Hernández was an All-Star this year and is 28.
Toronto has shown willingness to use. The Blue Jays signed George Springer to a six-year, $ 150 million deal last season. But the big question now may be whether Toronto can keep second baseman Marcus Semien and left-hander Robbie Ray, who has had fantastic seasons on one-year contracts.
However, there are concerns for the future. The Blue Jays still have hope this year. The run difference on plus-128 is better than the Yankees (plus-51) and Red Sox (plus-58) combined. Now they get the chance to settle the ground against New York.
Daniel Vogelbach’s pinch-hit grand slam at the bottom of the ninth gave Milwaukee victory 6-5 over St. Louis on Sunday.
In today’s second Central match in all-NL Central, the Cubs and Pirates teamed up for three majors, and it was a great record. Bryan Reynolds beat one for Pittsburgh, and Matt Duffy and Frank Schwindel beat them for Chicago. The kids won 11-8.
As promising as Toronto’s list is, do not underestimate the difficulty of defeating the Yankees and Red Sox. Right now, Tampa Bay is leading AL East, but if the Blue Jays were to rally to a second place behind the Rays, it would be quite an event.
It’s been a while since both New York and Boston finished lower than second place in AL East. Mention the year.
Clevelands Amed Rosario went 5 for 5 with two homers – including one who lived inside the park – and five RBIs in a 7-2 win over Kansas City Tuesday night.
Rosario hits .287 with 10 homers and 12 stolen bases in his first season in Cleveland after being bought in the deal that sent Francisco Lindor to the Mets.
The semis’ three-run homer at the bottom of the ninth gave Toronto an 11-10 victory over Oakland on Friday. The Blue Jays finished 8-2 in the eighth round, then Baseball Savant gave them only 0.5% chance of winning. Loudes Gurriel Jr. equalized with a grand slam at eighth, and after Oakland scored twice in the ninth – and pushed the probability of victory back over 90% – Toronto gathered again.
Pittsburgh’s Ben Gamel made a dive catch in the left field against the Cubs on Sunday which kicked up quite a bit of dust when he landed on the warning track. That piece came on a line drive by Willson Contreras – and Gamel also made a dive catcher on the grass in the first round of that game, and a jumping catch in front of the ivy in the third.
The last time AL East’s top two did not include the Yankees and Red Sox was in 1992, before the transition. Toronto won the division that year, and the Milwaukee Brewers finished in second place.
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