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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in NY State of Mind

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Jays dominate in their weekend visit to Queens - Image Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports

FLUSHING, NY — With the Blue Jays flying through Queens this past weekend, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was in the ‘NY State of Mind.’ Toronto’s 24-year-old superstar torched the Mets and held no vengeance in the process as the Jays swept New York for the first time in franchise history. 

In the three-game set at Citi Field, Guerrero Jr., a recipient of the 2021 American League LatinoMVP Award, went 4-11 with one HR, and two RBI. He also compiled three walks and a stolen base, which marked his third on the season. 

So, let’s zone in on his weekend performance and his clutch factor… 

During Sunday’s series finale in the top half of the third, Guerrero Jr. smashed a four-seam fastball off Mets starter Kodai Senga to lift the Jays lead to 3-0. Off the bat at 108.3 MPH with a distance of 406 feet — you could say, it was gone in a ‘New York Minute.’ 

The solo-blast marked his first career HR at Citi Field and ninth HR this year. 

And to add to the ‘NY State of Mind,’ Guerrero Jr. is hitting 7-24 with four walks at Citi Field for his career in six games played while in the Bronx, it’s a totally different story. The two-time All Star has posted a .296/.354/.614 career slash line at Yankee Stadium in 34 games with 12 HR and 21 RBI. 

But, back to Sunday — in the seventh inning with one out, Guerrero Jr. smacked a single off New York’s reliever Dominic Leone, and what followed up was a Brandon Belt two-run HR off the wall of the Big Apple. 

“I saw it hit off something, but I wasn’t really sure what it was,” Belt said following Sunday’s 6-4 victory. “I knew once I saw it hit off the black part it was a home run.”

Together with Belt, Guerrero Jr. started the two-run inning by executing at the plate, which ultimately swung the momentum back to the Jays. 

Now for a quick rewind to Saturday, once again, Guerrero Jr.’s clutch factor came about… 

With the game even at 1-1 in the top of the ninth inning, two outs and a runner on, Guerrero Jr. was in the midst of his at-bat while manager John Schneider got ejected for arguing balls and strikes. 

Instead of stressing about the strike zone and outside noise, the 2021 AL LatinoMVP, capitalized on a 1-2 knuckle-curveball from Mets closer David Robertson, recorded a double, and gave Toronto a 2-1 lead, which was all the Jays needed. 

“He’s one of the best players in the game, and I think that at-bat can kind of get him rolling a little bit,” Schneider said about Guerrero Jr. following Saturday’s 2-1 win. “It’s a big spot and he came through.”

“I just stayed focused and trusted myself,” Guerrero Jr. said through a team interpreter. “I was talking to myself [saying], ‘OK, you’ve got to trust yourself. I’m looking for a good pitch.’ Thank God we got the result that we wanted.”

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. celebrates and pumps up the Jays dugout after clutch double – Image Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com

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