In what was billed as a showdown between American League Most Valuable Player Candidates – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Shohei Ohtani – the edge probably went to Ohtani. While Mike Wilner of the Toronto Star writes that this series won’t decide the MVP Award in the AL, two key points emerge for me.
First, Guerrero Jr. is beginning to wear down a bit. He singled off Ohtani in the first, but just drew a walk the rest of the night. Additionally, he did little all series long to make an impact and looked generally sluggish at the plate. With his average down to .311 on the year, I don’t think he sniffs .320 or north of that mark again this season and hope he can salvage a .300 average on the year. The triple crown hopes are out of the barn now.
Second, the Blue Jays missed key opportunities to really take a series on the west coast and continue to emerge as a true playoff contender.
A key guy they acquired in Jose Berrios couldn’t have been more dreadful in his start that didn’t last five innings. He nibbled all night, didn’t look dominant, and gave up six runs. He never gave the Blue Jays a shot in this game after being good in his first two in Toronto. This is something that can’t happen if the Jays are going to make a run of things.
Ohtani improved to 7-1 in this game, all while hitting a 1.107 OPS on the year. He still leads the sport in home runs too.
Finally, where is Mike Trout? He’s missed five months with a strained calf. One must wonder if playing baseball is even on Trout’s mind right now, as he’s left his teammates hanging out to dry and hasn’t shown much guts in two years. It’s disappointing to watch him salt away a legendary career.