Guerrero Jr. hitting well after Derby win as Blue Jays offence could use a boost
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting just fine after winning the All-Star Home Run Derby.
The Toronto slugger went deep Sunday for the fourth time in nine games since the break, which should quell whatever concerns exist about whether the Derby messes with players' swings. In fact, Guerrero has shown more power in the past couple weeks than he was before his big victory in Seattle.
Guerrero had only 13 homers in his first 88 games this year and entered the break with a .787 OPS. He's raised that mark over .800 now, and if he hits like he did two years ago — when his 48 home runs earned him an MVP runner-up finish — it would go a long way toward helping the Blue Jays secure a postseason spot.
Right now, that 2021 season is an outlier on Guerrero's resume. Maybe it's not realistic for him to hit at that level every season, but his career overall has been closer to this year than that one.
Guerrero is certainly dependable, having played in almost every game for the past 3 1/2 seasons, but this year Toronto's offense has been pretty ordinary, ranking 15th in the majors in runs scored. George Springer producing a career-worst .740 OPS isn't helping, and catcher Alejandro Kirk's production has slipped as well.
The bright spot for the 2023 Blue Jays has been on the pitching side, despite Alek Manoah's struggles and Hyun Jin Ryu's post-Tommy John surgery absence. Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi have each made at least 20 starts with an ERA under 4.00.
The Milwaukee Brewers still have a negative run differential on the season, but lately they've looked the part of a first-place team in the NL Central. Milwaukee is 21-11 since June 16. The Brewers lost two of three to Atlanta over the weekend, but that was a competitive series, and prior to that, they went 7-2 in nine games against Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
Milwaukee is now 10 games over .500 and leads the Reds by a half-game atop the division even though Cincinnati is on a five-game winning streak.
The San Francisco Giants have a losing record in July, even though they recently went on a seven-game winning streak. Those are just about their only victories in the month, and they followed that run with a five-game skid that included a three-game sweep at the hands of last-place Washington.
The Giants were outscored 21-5 in that series against the Nationals. San Francisco is tied with Arizona for the second wild card in the National League, but Philadelphia is only a half-game behind — and Miami is too despite plenty of its own problems.
Max Muncy hit his third grand slam of the season Sunday and gave the Dodgers a major league-best 10. That's as many as last year's leaders, the New York Yankees, hit all season.
Four other players have hit grand slams for the Dodgers this year. Who are they?
LINE OF THE WEEK
Boston's Nick Pivetta pitched six hitless innings of relief in a 7-0 win over Oakland on Monday night. His 13 strikeouts set a Red Sox record for a reliever.
Pivetta has posted a 2.25 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP since moving to the bullpen in May.
COMEBACK OF THE WEEK
Down 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth Sunday, the Minnesota Twins got an RBI double from Willi Castro and a sacrifice fly by Carlos Correa. Then Alex Kirilloff hit a two-out double to bring home the tying run against the Chicago White Sox.
Both teams scored a run in the 10th, and then Minnesota won it 5-4 on a two-out RBI single by Ryan Jeffers in the 12th. Minnesota's win probability in the ninth, according to Baseball Savant, was 3.1%.
Chris Taylor, James Outman and Freddie Freeman have each hit two, and Trayce Thompson has hit one.
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