SEATTLE – Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was always going to be the unknown in the Blue Jays’ lineup. His great offensive skills come and go, but quietly, the Cuban has got into rhythm in the second half.
Gurriel once again looks like the hitter we saw in 2019 and 2020. A gifted athlete with a swing designed to connect lines and hit with power, Gurriel hit .289 with an .874 OPS between those two seasons, which Which doesn’t look bad at all in a lineup he’s hitting after George Springer and four players who attended the All-Star Game.
“He’s a streaky hitter. When it does not produce, it does not produce. But when it lights up, it lights up, ”said Toronto’s manager of the ninth, Puerto Rican Charlie Montoyo. “Right now, it’s on. He has been one of our best hitters in the last month. He’s having good at-bats and scores that favor the batter and that’s why he’s doing so well. I’m not surprised. The boy has the ability to hit. “
Gurriel entered the month hitting just .249 with an OPS of .632 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio that was not performing well. But in 54 games since June 1, the Sancti Spíritus native is hitting .283 with an OPS of .938. In the month of August, he is hitting .333 with a 1.068 OPS. Gurriel has been improving little by little, but his recent streak has been more remarkable.
“I feel very different,” Gurriel said. “I have made some adjustments and it has been good for me. Regardless of the result that came out, I feel much better ”.
Frankly, on a team where Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has made arguments for the MVP award and Springer has been recognized as the American League Player of the Week in consecutive weeks, it’s hard to get noticed. Gurriel is not the star of the team, but contributions like these – OPS close to .850 – are crucial when it comes to the bottom of the lineup. Gurriel is capable of splicing 30 home runs in a season if he stays on track from start to finish, and while his defense leaves a lot to be desired when he has to back down to the wall, he is seeing more action at first base to give some breathing space. Warrior.
Despite their recent hot streak, the Blue Jays haven’t gained as much ground in the standings as they’d like. But Gurriel fully trusts the roster around him. Toronto came 3.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card on Saturday, behind the Yankees.
“We have a goal, which is to win,” said Gurriel. “I think we are not looking much at what the other teams do, but we have a goal which is to win so we can enter the playoffs.”