Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has played 13 games in his major-league career and his legion of fans are still waiting for his first big blast.
The 20 year old, baseball’s top-rated prospect, crafted his reputation in the minors as a power hitter extraordinaire, his majestic home runs the talk of the game.
In the majors, not so much, at least not yet.
Guerrero continues to show that it is just a matter of time before he gets a major-league pitch in his wheelhouse and sends it over the outfield wall.
Meanwhile, Blue Jays supporters will have to make do with watching the opposition crush baseballs, as the Chicago White Sox did on Sunday in the final of a weekend series at Rogers Centre.
The White Sox did all of their damage in one inning against Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez, erupting for two home runs that tallied five runs all in the fourth as Chicago (18-21) went on to record a 5-1 win over Toronto and take the three-game set 2-1.
The Blue Jays (16-24) have now lost four series in a row and 10 of their past 12 games. Offensively, they’ve dried up as bad as last night’s pizza – having scored two or fewer runs in six of the past seven games and eight of the past 10.
“When you’re down by four it seems like 10, and that’s just not a good feeling,” said Charlie Montoyo, the Blue Jays’ rookie manager.
It was a strange outing for Sanchez, who apart from that one inning was otherwise dominant, with 11 strikeouts, one less than his career high, in six innings. He allowed all five runs off nine hits.
The five runs occurred in the decisive fourth, when Yonder Alonso touched him up for a two-run home run shot to left, which lifted the White Sox in front 2-1. Two singles later, Tim Anderson cranked a three-run homer to centre.
“Just got to make pitches, really, that’s what it comes down to,” a contrite Sanchez said. “You try to limit the damage every inning, this one just got away.”
Guerrero, batting out of the two-hole for the third consecutive game, continues to make solid contact.
On Saturday he had his first multihit game of his career and, with two walks, was on base four times as Toronto fell 7-2.
On Sunday, Guerrero hit a double in his first at-bat as the crowd of just more than 24,000 shrieked with excitement in the belief the ball might carry further.
That blow moved Freddy Galvis to third base. He scored on a single by Rowdy Tellez, which provided Toronto with a 1-0 first-inning lead.
Guerrero then flew out to deep centre in his second at-bat, struck out in the fifth and flew out again in the eighth. He is batting .191 on the year after devouring minor-league pitching last season to the tune of a .381 batting average. Guerrero finished 1-for-4 on Sunday.
“I’d say he’s locked in right now,” Montoyo said.
Guerrero also contributed a sensational defensive play in the fifth inning, moving to his right to spear a hard-hit grounder from Jose Abreu.
Spinning completely around, Guerrero set himself, then fired a strike across the diamond to first baseman Justin Smoak to get Abreu out by half a step.
The game marked the finale of a six-game homestand for the Blue Jays. Toronto is off on Monday before embarking on a six-game trip that begins Tuesday in San Francisco against the Giants.
Rogers Centre was awash in pink on Sunday to commemorate Mother’s Day. Toronto catcher Danny Jansen was resplendent wearing a pink chest protector, pink shin guards and pink shoes. The bill of his cap, as it was for all the players and the umpiring crew, was also coloured pink.
Veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson, whom the Blue Jays acquired from Oakland in exchange for cash considerations on Saturday, is expected to join the team on the West Coast. Montoyo said Jackson will get the start against the Giants on Wednesday.
Jackson’s presence was required after Toronto starter Clay Buchholz landed on the injured list last week with right-shoulder inflammation.
When Jackson makes his first start with the Blue Jays, he will set a major-league record by playing for his 14th club over his 16-year career. Jackson is 35 and had been toiling this season in Oakland’s minor-league system.