In just six games in front of Blue Jays fans at the Rogers Centre, George Springer is proving he’s worth every penny of his massive deal.
George Springer is sending a simple message to Blue Jays fans since they returned to the Rogers Centre: when I’m at the top of the lineup, you better settle in your seats early.
The Blue Jays have played six games in Toronto this season. Springer has hit a leadoff home run in three of them. The first came on Saturday, part of a two-homer afternoon against the Kansas City Royals. Then he led off Tuesday’s game against Cleveland with a home run.
Finally, on Wednesday night, he took the first pitch he saw from Indians starter J.C. Mejia 439 feet into the WestJet Flight Deck in centre field to spark a Blue Jays 8-6 win. Springer became the first Blue Jay with a leadoff home run in consecutive games since Devon Travis in 2016; Jose Cruz Jr. in April 2000 is the only other player in franchise history with three leadoff homers in the span of a week.
It’s been only five days since the Blue Jays returned to the Rogers Centre after playing the previous season-and-a-half in Buffalo and Dunedin. Springer, who hadn’t had the chance to play in front of the home crowd since signing a six-year, $150 million contract in the offseason, is loving every moment of it. He went 4-5 on Wednesday, coming a triple short of the cycle, to go along with three RBI. Since last Friday, Springer is 14-25 (.560) with four home runs, nine extra-base hits, and 10 RBI. Only one other Blue Jays batter has ever had a six-game stretch like that in Toronto, Jacob Brumfield in 1996.
Springer already has the sixth-most leadoff home runs by a Blue Jay at the Rogers Centre. The five players ahead of him—Devon White, Shannon Stewart, Reed Johnson, Alex Rios, and Cruz—all played at least 55 games from the leadoff spot in Toronto; White and Stewart batted leadoff more than 300 times. Springer has played six.
But this isn’t anything new for the former World Series MVP and three-time All-Star. Going back to his career with the Houston Astros, Springer is a career .423 hitter at the Rogers Centre, his highest among ballparks in which he has at least 20 plate appearances. His seven career homers in Toronto are his most in a park outside the AL West.
With Springer serving as the catalyst at the top of their batting order, the Blue Jays improved to 5-1 since coming back home on Friday. Three of Springer’s four hits on Wednesday had an exit velocity of at least 103 mph, the first Blue Jay to do that at the Rogers Centre since Lourdes Gurriel Jr. more than two years ago. He’s increased his batting average for the season from .239 to .296 since Friday.
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The Blue Jays are now seven games above .500 for the first time this season and three games out of the second AL Wild Card spot. Back in front of their home fans for the first time since September 2019, the club is playing loose, having fun, and, most importantly, racking up the wins against teams they should beat.
“We’re for sure energized to have the guys that we do on our roster now. To be back home in our home ballpark with our home fans is obviously huge,” Springer said following the game, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith. “Our team understands that every game is important and we’re playing for our life every single day.”
They still have 30 games left to play at home the rest of the season, including a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox beginning on Friday. That just means there are plenty of opportunities for Springer to make some more history.
The team and the fans are excited for them to be back home, but no one is having a better time the last week than Springer.