Vlad Guerrero Jr., and the Blue Jays stick it to the Yankees in sequence opener

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Rattling the Yankees, certainly.

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That’s definitely the mindset of the Blue Jays because it pertains to their chief American League East adversaries from the Bronx, a rivalry that will get extra heated by the season.

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And people emotions have been the backdrop on Friday night time at Yankee Stadium, the place the Jays rode the bats of Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Brandon Belt and one other sturdy displaying from starter Yusei Kikuchi to a cruising 6-1 win.

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They did in order the temperature of the feelings between the 2 continued to warmth up on the opener of a weekend sequence.

Take, for instance, Guerrero’s low season assertions that he likes “to play in New York and kill the Yankees” and that he “would by no means signal with the Yankees, not even lifeless.”  The Jays’ Gold Glove first baseman re-iterated these remarks to reporters in New York previous to Friday’s recreation after which turned one of many lead characters of their first assembly of the season.

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In addition to a house run within the first inning and an infield single within the eighth, Guerrero was within the highlight within the ninth inning when he took a pitch off the left elbow from Yankees reliever Gregory Weissert.

Whereas he shook off the preliminary blow, the shot didn’t sit nicely with Guerrero. As he walked slowly to first base, he glared on the Yankees dugout and at first baseman Anthony Rizzo although umpires intervened earlier than extra bother may ignite.

Don’t be shocked if there are some extra fireworks because the three-game weekend sequence unfolds, nonetheless, beginning with a probably explosive Saturday afternoon matchup. That’s when Jays starter Alek Manoah’s growing verbal feud with Yankees ace Gerrit Cole strikes centre stage, particularly since every are getting the beginning for his or her respective groups.

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After which there’s the Jays’ pointed pre-season aim of successful the division, a activity that again in spring appeared to imply besting the Yankees reasonably than the scorching Tampa Bay Rays.

Heading into their first of 13 conferences this season — decreased from 19 with the brand new balanced schedule — the Jays have been 24-24 towards the Yankees relationship again to the beginning of the 2020 season. That included an 8-11 mark in 2022, 5-5 within the Bronx.

With the win on Friday, the Jays pulled even with the Yankees at 12-8, 4 video games behind the division-leading Rays.


It was one other efficient outing from Kikuchi because the Japanese lefty scattered 4 hits and allowed only one run in six efficient innings.

Kikuchi’s management was on level all recreation as he struck out three, together with a giant sixth-inning fanning of Yankees star Aaron Decide.

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4 begins in, Kikuchi is settling in because the fifth starter the Jays signed him to be previous to the 2022 season. He’s allowed a single earned run in three of these begins, together with the previous two, and lowered his ERA to three.80.

Kikuchi has pitched the Yankees nicely in his time as a Jays, holding batters to a .197 common in his six appearances final season.

For a season that began with Kikuchi heading to spring coaching having to earn the fifth starter’s spot, it’s been fairly an emergence for the personable southpaw. And when stacked on a stellar outing by Jose Berrios in Houston on Wednesday, out of the blue the again finish of the rotation is displaying some power.

And the way is that this for the 2023 model of Kikuchi by means of 4 video games: He’s 3-0 with a 3.80 ERA (21.1IP, 9ER) and 20 strikeouts and has gone six full in every of his previous two begins.

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Guerrero could have zero curiosity in sporting Yankee pinstripes, however the Jays slugger likes to swing a bat within the Bronx.

His first-inning homer to get the sequence began was his eleventh in 31 video games in Yankee Stadium, his most in any huge league park not named the Rogers Centre.

Guerrero’s newest was a two-run blast, cashing in a leadoff double from George Springer, who ended an 0-for-20 stretch on the plate.

Whereas it was simply the fourth homer of the season for Guerrero, it renewed his highly effective performances at Yankee Stadium, together with a three-homer effort final April.

His persistent baiting of the Yankees is popping into an amusing sideshow as nicely, an everyday alternative for Guerrero to indicate his character. And when he backs it up on the plate, even higher. After Friday’s recreation, Guerrero’s common on the season is a wholesome .346.

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In his profession, Guerrero is hitting .296 at Yankee Stadium.


Relating to Jays starter Manoah, we’ve by no means been a proponent of the “shut-up and pitch” crowd that thinks the massive righty is simply too outspoken. Frankly, most in that group love his depth when he’s on the market successful ball video games.

That stated, what a juicy match-up within the Bronx on Saturday when Manoah appears to snap out of the worst stretch of his professional profession whereas one in every of his main foils, Cole, will get the ball for the Yankees.

Whereas each pitchers will likely be locked in — Manoah on returning to kind, Cole on resuming among the finest early-season runs by a Yankees starter — anticipate followers within the Bronx to be fired up.

Manoah made feedback to Cole final season, basically difficult him to a brawl if the Yankees ace was serious about escalating issues. The chirping carried into the low season when Manoah labelled Cole as “one of many greatest cheaters within the recreation.”

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It’s all a part of the Manoah character, a brashness that for essentially the most half has been backed up in his efficiency.

He’s been preventing it to this point, nonetheless, taking his 6.98 ERA into Saturday’s contest towards Cole’s skimpy 0.95.


Belt struck out for the second time within the fourth inning — his twenty first Ok in 41 journeys — after which his kind reversed dramatically. Within the sixth inning he, uh, ‘belted’ his first residence run as a Jay — one other two-run blast — after which adopted that with a two-run double within the eighth … With the win, the Jays have taken six of their previous 9 towards the Yankees … The Jays improved to 8-6 on the street and 5-2 in sequence openers. 


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