Blue Jays: Teoscar Hernández can be a difference maker down the stretch
The Toronto Blue Jays bested the Chicago Cubs last night by a score of 5-3, with Kevin Gausman starting on the mound for the home team while former Jays top prospect Marcus Stroman started for the Cubs, his first appearance at the Rogers Centre since being traded back in 2019.
Although the Cubs got on the board first, the Jays took advantage of reliever Brendon Little’s MLB debut and poured in three runs, with Bo Bichette reaching base via HPB, Matt Chapman reaching on a single, and slugger Teoscar Hernández driving in all three runs via a home run to right field, a no-doubter.
That home run gave the Blue Jays the lead and a Guerrero Jr. solo in the seventh inning gave the insurance run needed to help the club seal the win. To say it was a badly needed home run for Hernández is an understatement after the righty batter injured his foot on Friday versus the Los Angeles Angels.
He missed yesterday and Saturday’s games because of the injury but whatever is bothering the Dominican product is not being shown on the field, especially since he also made two very nice defensive plays in right field last night.
After the game, Hernández did not mince words about his problems with his foot, “For me, now that I have this issue in my ankle, I’m going to give everything I’ve got and keep playing hard.”
As the season starts to wind down, it’s no secret that some of the Blue Jays players are battling the injury bug given the length of the season. Hernández is no different with the foot injury and last night was also proof that when he is able to hit for power and get on base, he can drastically change the outcome of any game, regardless of what is bothering him.
The Blue Jays won by a score of 5-3 last night, edging out the Chicago Cubs with the help of a Teoscar Hernández three-run home run in the sixth inning.
While it isn’t necessarily the same calibre of play we are used to seeing from the slugger after two great seasons, the Blue Jays outfielder is sporting a .260/.312/.477 slash line with 19 home runs and a .789 OPS. He has certainly battled this season, missing time earlier in the year with an oblique injury and now having to deal with this foot issue.
His numbers are still solid, especially since he is sitting in the 94th percentile in average exit velocity and 92nd percentile in barrel %, but they are a step back from his two previous campaigns where he earned back-to-back Silver Slugger Awards. Amongst right fielders across the MLB, he sits eighth in batting average, seventh in terms of OPS and home runs, and third in slugging. He also owns a 2.2 bWAR on the year.
Looking ahead to the remaining schedule, it wouldn’t be surprising if the club starts to use Hernández in the DH role to help elevate some of the stress on his foot through the end of the year.
As witnessed last night, Hernández is a key part of this Blue Jays lineup and they will need his bat in almost every game down the stretch.